Produsing Press Freedom: Investigating the mediatization of an issue about a Philippine online news site on Twitter and Facebook


Author: Brian D. Villaverde (Southern Luzon State University)
Speaker: Brian D. Villaverde
Topic: General Sociolinguistics
The CALA 2022 General Session


Abstract

The Philippines is dubbed as the freest press in Asia and has held such distinction since the country reclaimed democracy from a 20-year dictatorship some three decades ago. But recently, this status was challenged when the country’s ‘populist’ President publicly attacked the online news site Rappler for allegedly being ‘biased’ against his administration. This led to social media-wide debates about the practice of press freedom in the Philippines. Following Bruns’ (2008) notion of ‘produsage’, or ‘‘the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement,” in this paper, I investigate the ways in which the notion of Press Freedom is ‘prodused’ on Facebook and Twitter from a corpus of 3296 comments, tweets and retweets gathered from top posts in official pages of three major media outlets in the Philippines using the search phrase “SEC revokes Rappler’s license”. Analysis shows that the comments of social media users typically aligned with prodused stances of approval and satisfaction on the actions of government agencies and the President against the online news site. In this regard, press freedom has been prodused as the media outlet’s safeguard from being subjected to legal and public scrutiny. With social media being thought of as ‘echo chambers’ (Sunstein, 2008), this paper offers insights about social media affordances as both enabling and disabling with respect to people’s ideological constructs and biases.

References:

Bruns, A. (2008). Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage, New York: Peter Lang.
Sunstein, C. R. (2008). Neither Hayek nor Habermas. Public Choice, 134(1-2), 87–95.

Keywords: Produsage, mediatization, press freedom, social media