Freedom of speech is a basic human right. But these days, choosing to exercise it can feel like a threat to one’s own safety.
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In the wake of events like #NoToABSCBNShutdown, #JunkTerrorismBillNow, and Black Lives Matter, more and more people are turning to social media to educate themselves and educate others on today’s most pressing issues. Netizens are becoming especially vocal on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where their activism can be felt at large as millions practice social distancing amid COVID-19.
But being open on the internet doesn’t come without consequences. With every post, you run the risk of being bashed or engaging in a war of words. Recent studies go at length on the negative effects of cyberbullying towards mental health. It’s no surprise why then, some stay silent despite having social networking access in the palm of their hands.
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Despite this general consensus, there are existing platforms that encourages critical thinking and discussion without putting anyone down. Among them is Speak Out PH, a new Facebook series to get people to engage in conversation within a no-holds-barred, non-judgmental space. Hosted by Aya Fernandez in the Philippines and Real Talk Darbs in Dubai, Speak Out PH invites guests who have personal experience on a trending topic. What’s more, viewers are invited to participate and every episode closes with a conclusion shared by everyone involved.
Speak Out PH's debut episode, which aired last May 29, centered on social media. Joining Aya and Darbs were vloggers Jayzam Manabat and Camille Trinidad (better known by their couple name JaMill) as well as senior multimedia journalist Jacque Manabat. Throughout the show, the hosts followed a "one question, one answer" policy for their guests. Think fast talk, but expounded.
It almost goes without saying that social media made a huge impact on their personal and professional lives. On the subject of whether its been a friend or foe, Camille declaired it’s the former. “Unang una, ang dami kong natutunan sa social media like nagkaroon ako ng pamilya dito na sobrang tatag, ang dami kong natutunan na lalo ako naging mas matibay. Ang Dami kong nalaman na pwedeng iapply sa buhay na mas lalo akong tumalino, naging wais, at siyempre naging mapagmahal ako sa mga tao sa paligid ko,” she mused.
Another subject close to the guests that episode? Bashing. Camille related past experiences wherein she would consult her boyfriend about below the belt comments. To which Jayzam candidly replied. “Una, hindi nila matanggap na nandun ka. Gusto nila sila yung nasa posisyon na meron ka ngayon. Pangalawa, talagang trip lang nila. Di ba? Parang pasttime lang nila. Sobrang walang magawa sila sa buhay.”
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Jacque spoke of her own encounters as a reporter. “Nako, death threats lang natatanggap namin! Simple lang ha,” she recalled. “Pero ngayon, meron na mga senseless bashing, meron ng rape threats—totoo yan! Laging kami nakakatanggap na ganyan…these are comments, constructive criticisms that maybe I could answer kung bakit ganun. But I think it’s also our responsibility rin naman sa followers natin especially on social media if we ban trolls and unhealthy comments because these kind of comments they could sway or influence other people who are reading the posts.”
The conversation later moved to how they distinguish bashing from constructive criticism. “Yung constructive criticism, yun po talaga yung tinatanggap namin…parang pinupuno ng parang pagkukulang na ginagawa ninyo. Parang suggestion siya na dapat mong gawin, dapat mo iiwasan. Yung mga bashing yun yung walang kwenta sinasabi,” Jayzam described.
Jacque agreed, going so far as to say she’s sometimes thankful for them. “When you accept those faults, mas tinatanggap ka ng tao. Eto yung laging kong tinuturo pag nagpapaseminar ako: kung ano ang hindi mo magawa in real life, at nakikipagusap ka sa mga tao, don’t do it online.”
These were just a few of the questions discussed. You can watch the full episode below:
To join more conversations, visit Speak Out PH's official Facebook page. Episodes air every Friday at 4 PM Philippine time.
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