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BAUTISTA, Florbeth O.

Technology and the Law

Thursday; 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Atty. Romulo De Grano, Jr.

Critique Paper on Professor Yochai Benkler’s Lecture
Professor Yochai Benkler’s discussion revolves on these two main thesis: (1) the political
implications of control over who gets to say what to whom and who decides who get to say to
whom; and (2) the proposition of open information environment free from government
censorship. On the first thesis, he points out that there is a radical change in the model of
communication from merely broadcast, wherein the vast control is done by the broadcast
network and the end-users are just passive receiver, to internet, wherein the service provider just
provide physical transmission channel and the end-users control everything. In the second thesis,
he proposes that internet should be available to everyone just like the national highway and
should continue to be a public forum.

I agree with the Professor’s disquisition that the access to information is important to
everyone, coupled with the right to comment and share whatever opinion especially to matters of
public concern. He presented perfectly that in the case of broadcast media, only limited elite
individual or corporation controls the information and in some matters it can be biased because
they are still motivated by their own interest economically or politically. As the old saying goes
the powerful tells the story. As eloquently said by the Professor, technology will not determine
for good or for ill the way that we live in this information environment. Technology once and
again proves its very worth in the area of information dissemination. Today, we have what we
called citizen media, wherein private citizens can participate in matters of public concern or
anything they deem as appropriate to share
through blogs, vlogs, podcasts, digital
storytelling, community radio, participatory video and more, and may be distributed
via television, radio, internet, email, movie theatre, DVD and many other forms.1 This broadened
the concept of journalism and equipped the common individual to share their ideas to the public.
Media has always been playing an important role in a democratic government. Some said it is a
fourth division, aside from legislative, executive and judiciary because without media an
effective governance that is transparent and accountable to people will not be possible. That is
why the Constitution protects the press: No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech,
of expression, or of the press (Art 3. Sec 4. 1987 Constitution).

I always adhere to the basic adage that “knowledge is power”. regardless of how obnoxious or erroneous the opposing views may . I will end my critique with Justice Carpio’s dissenting opinion in the case of Soriano vs Laguardia which cited Justice Holmes: that the market place of ideas is still the best alternative to censorship. that is why I also agree with Prof regarding his comment that the internet should be available to everyone whether rich or poor. of the press and other related laws. The market place of ideas makes freedom of speech robust and allows people to be more tolerant of opposing views. that all may be enlightened. I am not prepared to assent regarding his opinion that internet should be free from government regulation. Well informed citizenry is very important for the progress of the nation. However.2 http://en. All I can say is that the government should act in accordance to the Constitution and statutes enacted pursuant to freedom of speech. It has been said that freedom of speech is not only to freely express oneself within the context of the law but also to hear what others say.