Government officials and government consultants engaging in trolling, libelous speech, hate speech, speech fomenting violence and criminal acts, should be held to account, especially when they are being paid with public funds.
But the Senate grilling of private individual bloggers/ tweeters/ FB users yesterday, for the content of their pages — content critical of certain senators — is a McCarthyist witch hunt.
It is a form of McCarthyism because private individuals were summoned, using the coercive powers of the Senate, based on suspicions that they were behind the blog silentnomoreph. com which had labelled Senator Sotto as “rapist” (based on criminal complaints of the alleged rape of Pepsi Paloma); Senator Cynthia as being a big-time donor of then candidate Duterte; et cetera.
The senators yesterday behaved like medieval inquisitors when they forced the bloggers/ tweeters/ FB users to answer questions based on their being critical of the President in their tweets and FB and blog posts.
The Senate might as well have built a pyre and stake at the Senate session hall.
Why no journalist or lawyer, or concerned citizen, bristled at the sight of state coercion against bloggers and Tweeters may be explained by too much exposure to too many assaults on the senses — resulting in the loss of capacity to be outraged by outright attacks on the right to freedom of thought and freedom of conscience.
The invited guests at the Senate were forced to “out” themselves: “Are you or are you not the owner/ administrator/ user of silentnomoreph. com : “ADMIT or RECANT”.
PNoy’s former deputy spokesperson emphatically recanted: “I am neither an author, a writer, a user, an administrator, a contributor of said blog.”
Legend has it that when Galileo recanted his brave new theory that the Earth revolved around the sun, he slowly stood up from kneeling before his inquisitors, and softly said under his breath:
“e pur … si muove” .
“and yet … it moves”
Would that the bloggers could do a Galileo.
“And did you call me … a rapist?!!”
“No, your Honor…”
slowly moving away from the microphone:
“and yet, you are” …
(… the subject of a criminal complaint for rape).
(photo credits as stated in the archives)