A FIRESTORM of sorts erupted in the aftermath of the first-ever Philippine Blog Awards, which Benito blogged about here and here. I don't know what triggered it, but Abe Olandres, the country's most popular blogger, came up with a quite defensive take on blogging, pronouncing that it is a privilege, not a right.
The money quote:
It is not for everybody. It is only for those who have internet access. It is only for those who have enough time on their hands. It is only for those who have something to write or say.I don't know with you, but I will have to disagree with Yuga here, and agree with Benito -- for a slightly different reason.
Yes, the lack of internet access, time and facility for language are formidable barriers to blogging today. But their existence does not make blogging less of a right that every citizen should have the freedom to enjoy -- or decide not to enjoy at all.
In the same manner that simply because the Philippine blogging community today is a mostly elitist segment of society at large should deter ordinary citizens from wanting their voice to be heard and demanding their own seat on the table -- in cyberspace. To the contrary, it is our challenge to tear down these barriers, or at least die trying.
I am not sure if I will see it in my generation, but wouldn't it be nice, for instance, to see the school children in Naga's public schools blogging because it is how their English and Filipino compositions are to be graded, not through that antiquated theme book anymore?
In the same vein, the fact that decent education today remains inaccessible to a significant segment of the Philippine population -- particularly the poor, the constitutional provision notwithstanding -- does not make it less of a right and more of a privilege.
The day we begin to believe that it is so is the day we admit that aspiring for the good, old "Liberté, égalité, fraternité!" is pointless, and that our modern Louis XVIs and Marie Antoinettes have the divine right to rule as kings.