Think be­fore you click

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION -

AT no other time is this re­minder more rel­e­vant than to­day, when hordes of peo­ple have un­leashed their worst and are not above bash­ing any­one they want to just be­cause they can.

While be­fore, li­bel was the scourge of jour­nal­ists and only a few non-jour­nal­ists are in­con­ve­nienced and pe­nal­ized with slan­der, these days, li­bel is a crim­i­nal of­fense ap­pli­ca­ble to all, espe­cially with so­cial me­dia where the medium of spread­ing mal­ice is on ev­ery­one’s fin­ger­tip.

In to­day’s is­sue, we have a wed­ding or­ga­nizer who was ar­rested for a cy­ber-li­bel com­plaint filed by a fel­low wed­ding or­ga­nizer. Un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stance just a decade ago, this would just be your reg­u­lar ‘chis­misan’ and back­bit­ing, which is very hard to prove and is thus set­tled in some other way, vi­o­lently or peace­fully.

There are Latin phrases for those who in­sist that their so­cial me­dia wall is theirs and theirs alone: “dura lex sed lex” (The law may be harsh but it’s the law), and “ig­no­ran­tia legis ne­m­inem ex­cusat” (ig­no­rance of law ex­cuses no one). Sim­ply said, think be­fore you click. Be guided, con­trol your­self, and no, your so­cial me­dia wall is not yours. It is in the pub­lic realm and thus is ruled by laws.

As Filipinos be­come more and more en­gaged with so­cial me­dia, it is time that proper deco­rum be­comes part of a child’s and the par­ents’ learn­ings. Much like how good man­ners and right con­duct is be­ing pushed as a sep­a­rate sub­ject in the cur­ricu­lum like it was be­fore to give it em­pha­sis and im­por­tance, good man­ners and right con­duct on­line is now a must.

As is the com­mon ex­pe­ri­ence these days, the el­ders just can­not keep track of how mo­bile the young ones are on their mo­biles, thus the im­por­tance of mak­ing sure that as they nav­i­gate their way into this cir­cuitous and very dan­ger­ous world we live in, they know what to look out for and what not to do. In the process, the young ones grow up to be adults who know what is ac­cept­able and un­ac­cept­able be­hav­ior in the pub­lic realm of so­cial me­dia.

It is never your wall your posts. Never. For as long as it is there for oth­ers to see and re­act to, it is no longer just yours and are thus can be sub­ject for law en­force­ment, as all pub­lic spheres are.

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