If one uses Twitter to sample the general sentiment of the Filipino public, you’d think “press freedom” is top of mind for the majority of Filipinos. With the shrillness of the rhetoric of “activists” that populate social media, one would be forgiven in thinking that “press freedom” is the game-changing issue that will determine this year’s elections.
Sadly, this isn’t true. Most Filipinos don’t give a shit about “press freedom”. It doesn’t help that “activist” personalities who champion the cause of this dubious advocacy have come to be seen by many as elitist social climbers who are just out to satisfy their virtue signalling addiction.
The data shows that “press freedom” is not a strong election issue — which is why the primary poster person of this “cause”, Maria Ressa, is increasingly isolating herself and possibly dooming her organisation, Rappler, to a spiral towards insolvency. Rather than be a CEO, Ressa seems to prefer the embrace of the snowflake community. Rather than be a journalist, Ressa would rather be an emotional blackmailing shill. Rather than focus on her legal troubles, Ressa would rather seek comfort in an echo chamber she engineered for herself.
It seems, though, that the majority of Filipinos no longer fall for this sort of phony melodrama, and politicians are taking heed. Even the Liberal Party claim to be listening to their constituents’ concerns this time. Indeed, if they focus on the basics — listening and evaluating real data — Filipino politicians need no longer waste precious campaign resources on non-issues like Maria Ressa’s pet “press freedom” tantrum.