Saturday, August 30, 2014

Anti-Selfie Bill in the Philippines? Wait what?

In case you haven't heard of yet, in the Philippines, there's a proposed bill/law that prohibits people from taking selfies. House Bill 4807 or the Protection against Personal Intrusion Act states that people shouldn't be allowed to take pics of other people or events without prior permission.

While this is good news for people with paparazzi problems, it's a big, questionable burden for journalists who want the mass media reports to be fair and transparent. Imagine if we didn't know our local congressman was actually spending PDAF money on your nearby casino. Imagine the life our elders had during Martial Law when press releases were controlled by the government. This proposed law is no different from the earlier controversial Online Libel Law.

We live in a world of lies already, with news being distorted and fabricated for publicity puroses, even more on TV (my dad is an avid DZRH fan and he can hear lots of blind items there that never aired on the black box). It's not just the government that's trying to grope our necks, but also mass media and TV networks, all ran by filthy-rich capitalists and behind-the-curtain gunners also responsible for dictating the government's true plans. But that's another story for another day - my point is, this law sucks for photojournalism rights.

They should simply amend another similar law just to protect people from paparazzi, or, celebrities themselves can just hire good security personnel, right? What sort of 'privacy' is this law gonna hide? Under-the-table meetings with kickbacks involved? Filthy-rich houses and lifestyles of celebrities and politicians? Starving and abused poor people in the streets and slum areas? I'm sorry, but that's just kinda rude with freedom of speech. "There are restrictions" don't satisfy me, since I'm already used to the Philippine system of governance and groupings, where corruption is very very very very very abundant.

Much like the ALS Ice Bucket Chalenge, I think this "Anti-Selfie Bill" shouldn't be our only main focus, just because fricking mass media and corporations tells us to trend this, trend that. Here are my suggested alternatives for privacy safety:

For Celebrities:
  1. Do not use locations for Facebook or other social media.
  2. Don't post photos successively on social media.
  3. As much as possible, reply to important fan messages so that people will not think of you as a snob and invade your privacy further through stalking.
  4. Face it, there will be paparazzi's, especially if you're a government official or a famewhore superstar.
For Normal People:
  1. Don't get involved with famous people who are dangerous to deal with. "Talk back and you're dead", says the Wattpad movie title.
  2. Photography and photojournalism is fine, but try to keep some privacy for the unsuspecting subject. For instance, my little brother who is a car enthusiast, erases the plate numbers of the cool cars he takes pictures of.
  3. Remember that "selfie" is all about yourself and your right, and no one has the right to take it away from you, even if you're already camwhoring with 500 shots of the same fucking pose. :D

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