In the age of quick information passed through in seconds, we as journalists and former journalists, online media persons and influencers know that anything we publish can reach the world in seconds, turning the otherwise innocent into guilty, or truth into falsehood.
Thus, it is not far fetched to think that information can be weaponized, as many libertarians now lament.
With this, we ought to be more careful, and circumspect, and be ready to take down articles proven to be false, flagged as potentially defamatory and libelous, or at the very least have the decency to apologize and help the defamed restore their credibility and dignity.
Failing to do so despite appeals, we must be ready to face our accusers in court and prove that the content we published is not libelous, or can stand on its facts.
Crying about the death of press freedom while insisting on publishing and failing to take down false or defamatory information on your news site does real journalists a great injustice, and is a shameful stain on our profession. We are human and prone to error after all.
Otherwise, we repeal the libel laws altogether, simply allowing all manner of defamatory and false information to flow like floodwaters inundating our morals and sense of decency, which are breeding grounds of impunity.
The real lesson of the Rappler case is that we as journalists and bloggers ought to practice our craft with the courage needed to show and express the truth, and to do so with the highest professional standards, a maturity to fact check ourselves, and, when proven wrong, have the decency to apologize.
I leave you all to ponder these thoughts as you continue to consume Rappler and Maria Ressa on Valentines Day.