When Atenews posted a publication material with a raw image of a middle finger, the thing that was highlighted is its assumed depiction as something that is very “un-Atenean”, or unacceptable, or offensive. Some have raised questions about the quality of the publication and the principles that it upholds. However, we can see what is illogical in the said assumptive claims. It is a narrow conception of the prime intention of Atenews which is not to inflict harm; the only harm that can happen is when it is wrongly misinterpreted.
So, what really is the intention of the publication in the first place? The middle finger is a metaphorical representation of the dynamism of cultures and trends in the contemporary world. It is a radical way of stirring discourse because the obvious apathy and passiveness among Ateneans demands something controversial to be engaged and to be active in relevant discussions. Atenews never hesitated to post it because we want to gauge the students’ openness and depth of understanding of symbols that may seem unconventional and infrequent to their sight. But, it has reached the organization that some people are trying to smear on its image by bullying it in the backdrop just because of the display of the middle finger in a Banaag Diwa poster.
Now, let’s go back to the main issue about whether or not it is justifiable to bully legitimate media organizations that do their best to espouse responsible journalism in the best way possible. Of course, every media organization is imperfect. But, their efforts must never be undermined by problematic faulty generalizations by authorities just like calling out the middle finger poster with a speck of closed-mindedness and uncritical expression of denigrations. To further the discourse, I have two arguments to present in order to remind those who are persistent in their bullying of media organizations.
Firstly, the act of bullying itself is unjustifiable in all levels. It can never be accepted because it is an act that is grounded upon mere assumptions which are not necessarily true and valid. More so, the act is dangerous to the idea of democracy because it portrays an image that media organizations don’t have any corrective mechanisms and it invalidates their efforts to make sure that the current discursive landscape is not disparaged through the dissemination of the best versions of truth and information.
Secondly, the act of bullying creates a distorted image of the greater ideals of media organizations. Though it is right to call out what the media have missed in the process of broadcasting and disseminating information, however, bullying media organizations just because they want to create a platform where people can talk about issues and changes in the society is intolerable especially when bullying is done in isolation by people in authority without giving media organizations the chance to defend themselves and clarify the induced harms.
The readers should understand, at the end of the day, that the credibility and legitimacy of media organizations are grounded upon the image that they carry. People are drawn to become interested in the daily dose of newspaper, online articles and other ways to package information because they trust the media organizations that release them. The moment that an organization’s image is denigrated is the very moment when people are forced to stop believing in the essence of media. Thus, bullying legitimate media organizations is an act that doesn’t only pursue an agenda to slowly diminish the role of media but also exposes a thinking of ignorance and absurdity.