Posts Tagged ‘plagiarism’

pop goes the world: sotto controllo

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  6 September 2012, Thursday

Sotto Controllo

Senator Tito Sotto thought he had everything under control when he gave his turno en contra speeches against the reproductive health bill.

He didn’t reckon on the rest of the populace having a brain and not being afraid to use it. After being called out by professors, writers, and many other people on his plagiarism, falsehood, and a slew of other issues, he ramped up his arrogance quotient instead of admitting his mistakes, among other things claiming that he is being cyberbullied.

I don’t think the senator understands what “cyberbullying” means. It’s the sort of extremely mean behavior that can drive people to suicide, as in the cases of Megan Meier, Tyler Clementi, and Ryan Halligan, just to name a few. It’s a serious form of aggression, and the term should not be misused for its gravity to remain undiminished. Cyberbullying is not what the senator is undergoing, which is merely people pointing out his mistakes online.

“Sotto controllo” is Italian for “under control”. Too bad the senator let this issue get out of hand when an apology would have allowed everyone to move on. Remember when businessman Manny Pangilinan apologized when netizens pointed out lifted paragraphs in a speech he gave? That resulted in everyone moving on; that incident is nearly forgotten, and when recalled, what comes to mind is Pangilinan’s gracious behavior.

But how can you expect Sotto to apologize when in the first place he does not believe he did anything wrong?

As for lawmaker Rufus Rodriguez’s recent tantrum in Congress, he obviously does not have his temper sotto controllo. Ranting before that august body the other day, he raised the issue of “no quorum” claiming only 111 present when the secretariat declared there were 155, rather more than the quorum of 143. 

Rodriguez ranting in the Lower House on September 4. Image from here

The lawmaker raised a ruckus because he thought the RH Bill was on the agenda that day. Being against the RH Bill, his outburst was seen as a delaying tactic. But how transparently obvious and demeaning! Surely a more adroit politician could have come up with a more elegant ploy. Instead, by choosing to use blunt force rather than finesse, he’s shown the world his character.

I saw Congressman Rodriguez in action somewhere in the provinces, and he was also upset then, haranguing someone because he could not get immediate action from them on a certain matter. I was appalled to see someone of his stature behave that way. It was juvenile. Wait, I take that back – it’s an insult to juveniles. My daughters had ceased having tantrums by the time they were three years old.

No one is perfect, and stress and worry can certainly cause anyone to lose their temper. But a frequent and consistent lack of self-control, especially at work, is detrimental above all to the person who can’t keep his or her cool. How can anyone still respect a screamer? Why should their authority be recognized when they can’t even govern themselves?

Neither did broadcaster Korina Sanchez have her snark sotto controllo when on her DZMM radio show she mentioned “maiitim na mga maligno” aiming for the post of Interior Secretary, considered by many as alluding to Vice-President Jejomar Binay.

The Vice-President’s daughter, Nancy Binay, addressed the issue on Twitter thus: “Aminado naman po kami na maliit at maitim ang daddy ko pero hindi naman po ata tama na tawagin ni Korina na maligno siya.” Now that is having the situation under control. That’s class. That’s manners. Unfortunately, both are in short supply nowadays, along with restraint and delicadeza. If only we could order cases – no, container vans – of the stuff.

Korina may have been defending her man [her husband is newly-appointed Interior Secretary Mar Roxas], but does he need defending? From what? All her comment sounded like was unmitigated spite.

Filipino culture frowns upon losing temper. Not only is it considered rude, vulgar, and ill-mannered, it also leads to loss of face as it causes embarrassment to the person on the receiving end of the outburst, who will then tend to refuse to cooperate or do so only with resentment.

Self-control is necessary for anyone to earn others’ respect. True leaders speak softly and mildly, because it is their trustworthiness and ethical rectitude, their gravitas, that will ensure that they will be obeyed.

Those who cannot admit their mistakes, those who yell and fling unwarranted insults, those who cannot rein in their faults, are not true leaders.  They’re certainly not the kind the Philippines needs. ***  

Tito Sotto meme image here. Korina Sanchez and Mar Roxas image here.

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plagiarism in action

With the Internet making your work as a blogger open for the world to see, it’s hard to track if someone has cribbed your content unless someone else informs you or you stumble upon it by accident.

It’s not a good feeling when you do. First comes indignation, a slow, burning feeling from the nape of your neck up to your ears. Then comes anger which winds down to frustration and exasperation – “What can I do?”

Well, in this case, I can do something about a case of plagiarism I’ve discovered. The sad and sorry part of it is, the plagiarism was committed by a reporter at the same newspaper where I am a columnist – the Manila Standard-Today.

In reporter Jenniffer B. Austria’s (yes, she has the same first name I do, but different spelling) front-page story about the Philippine Racing Club’s partnership with Ayala Land to develop the old Santa Park racetrack, she lifted the last four paragraphs of her story from my blog post of 2008 about the track.

Compare the last four paragraphs of her story for the Saturday-Sunday Feb. 26-27, 2011 issue of MST, as it appeared online:

…with the first three paragraphs of my blog post of 2008:

The only changes Ms. Austria did to the lifted paragraphs were to change the tense from present to past, and to transpose the first line from the first paragraph from the beginning to the end. Other than that, she used them as-is.

I have brought this issue up with the opinion page editor, Ms. Adelle Chua, who apologized in behalf of the desk and said she will inform the front-page editor and “Cocktales” columnist Mr. Vic Agustin, who, we are sure, will not be happy to hear about this. I assured Ms. Chua, who is my editor and my boss as well, as I am one of MST’s opinion columnists, that I do not blame the desk in any way for this fiasco. I know how harried editors are and reporters are trusted to adhere to basic journalism principles such as “Do not plagiarize” and “If quoting from a source verbatim, credit the author”.

On the right side of my blog are sidebars. Towards the bottom is this: “All rights reserved. Linking to this site is permitted, but ask for permission to re-use the materials here.” The proper thing to do is ask for permission or at least give attribution. I put much thought and effort into my pieces, into the craft of writing, and it is not fair when others take credit for my own hard work.

To plagiarists: Don’t copy – it is a mark of laziness and intellectual dishonesty, even incompetence because you can’t be bothered to do your own research or write your own couple of paragraphs. Plagiarism is stealing. It’ll take only a couple of quote marks and a sentence or two to make the proper attribution that will keep you from shame and embarrassment, because if you’re caught, there are sources – like myself – who will not hesitate to lay bare your plagiarism for all the world to see.

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pop goes the world: press freedom and plagiarism

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 9 December 2010, Thursday

Press Freedom and Plagiarism

“Press freedom.” The idea is lofty and noble. However, it is also a contentious one. What does it mean exactly? How do we define “press” – what constitutes it – and “freedom” – what are its parameters, or should it even have any to begin with? Is it a right, or a privilege?

Since the beginnings of mass media – channels whereby information may be disseminated to a large body of people – the issue of press freedom has always been hotly debated. While practitioners would staunchly defend their right to express their views, whatever these may be, many of the world’s governments usually have some form of control over what content is allowed to see exposure on broadcast (television), print (newspapers, magazines), and other media in order to promote and reinforce the agendas of the state.

Image from here.

This is especially true of repressive regimes. I grew up during the Marcos era – Cold War period and can recall to what extent information was suppressed in this country and in Communist and socialist nations. People died bringing crucial information to light, as part of their efforts to effect social change.

It wasn’t until People Power and the fall of the Berlin Wall that a fresh wave of free expression of differing views provided food-for-thought for the rebuilding of nations. Unfortunately, press freedom today is not enjoyed all over the world – for instance, in North Korea, China, and Cuba for ideological and political motives, and in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries for religious reasons (and, one may argue, political too).

The advent of the Internet proved to be a game changer. Its nature as a mass medium in digital (therefore easily transmittable) form makes difficult the imposition of control over content and publication. Anyone may post whatever they wish, whether true or false, insightful or stupid, inspirational or offensive.

Over the years since the inception of the Web, problems have arisen that may be characterized as stemming from “too much freedom”. Even scurrilous, fabricated attacks may be uploaded and taken as gospel truth by the naïve (the gullible), unsavvy (those who do not know enough to check using other sources), and scandal-loving (they don’t care if it’s true as long as it’s hot and juicy gossip).

A classmate – “Dixie” – shared last week her horrendous experience on social media site Facebook. An unknown enemy had created an account where he or she had posted false statements about Dixie and her family, alleging physical abuse and incest, all lies.

Dixie, who is young (belonging to the tail end of Generation X) and media-savvy, just shrugs off the attacks. What pains her is that this enemy went to great lengths to hurt her family by informing her mother about the account. Her mother suffers panic attacks and extreme anxiety as a consequence. Dixie has asked Facebook to delete the malicious account, but the process takes time. Meanwhile, she and her family have to bear with the pain and hurt and the interminable explanations to family and friends.

The Wikileaks incident also comes to mind. The US government and others have blasted Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for posting on his website diplomatic, military, and other secrets that may compromise strategies and assets in place in the field and have political and national security repercussions.

The enigmatic Julian Assange was recently arrested on rape charges. Image from here.

Assange claims freedom of the press – certainly the documents fed into his “electronic drop box” have brought to light dark abuses and sinister plots, bringing, at the very least, embarrassment to those named as perpetrators. Yet has Assange and his site imperiled the safety of nations?

The question then arises, is there indeed such a thing as “too much” press freedom? Or should we rather look at incidents such as these simply as ways that the various media are used, whether for “good” or “bad”, something not new to the world since the invention of writing?

In Dixie’s case, poison pen letters have been around since scribes learned to press wedge-shaped sticks onto clay tablets. Dixie herself, well aware of this, takes the matter in stride. In the Wikileaks case, many will argue that it was right to leak the classified information as a safeguard against military and political abuse of human rights.

Any medium, as an extension of man – whether communication channels or tools and equipment – may be used either for good or for evil by the hands and minds that wield it. Can you prosecute a knife for killing, or a car for running over a person? It is the man who stabbed and the woman driving the car who must answer for the hurt they have caused.

It is not the Internet’s fault that it carries scurrilous attacks for all to read. Blame rather the people who post lies, and find ways to bring them to justice, because misinformation is a form of abuse – the abuse of people’s trust.

Now we come to another concept related to press freedom – plagiarism, which may be seen as a form of abuse of trust and is also a form of theft, but of intellectual property rather than goods. It is always wrong, whether it be committed by a student for a school paper or a business tycoon’s speechwriters for his public addresses or the Supreme Court for its decisions.

Here’s a recent example where blatant plagiarism backfired on the perpetrators. Agence France Presse reported yesterday that China Friendship Publishing Company and China Media Time pulled from bookstores their translations of Japanese publications of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Not only did they fail to credit the true authors, Kiryu Misao, but they also used erotic retellings of the iconic stories for use in a children’s book. It wasn’t until the books hit children’s shelves in stores that they realized that the stories included incidents of Snow White having sexual relations with her father and the seven dwarves.

This illustration is from an ad for Jamieson’s Raspberry Ale and is from this site that has a post in French on this controversy.

The issue of press freedom is complex and multi-layered, and one to discuss over many pots of coffee or bottles of beer until the wee hours of the morning. Certainly this column doesn’t have enough space.

The takeaway here is that press freedom is a key component for social reform, it can be misused and abused like any other tool, and that it has immense value to human society to protect and sustain channels for concepts and ideas, without which man may not develop and evolve.  ***

Facebook logo image from here.

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pop goes the world: crawling the web for you

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 25 November 2010, Thursday

Crawling the Web for You

“You’re listening to DWJO, JennyO Radio! We trawl the depths and dive into the muck of ‘Net so you don’t have to! We serve the latest freshest catch of local and world news with sides of snark at no extra charge!

“On our grill today – tarsiers, condoms, and fireworks in a mish-mash of global happenings guaranteed to make you doubt in a positive future for human evolution.

“First up – Department of Tourism planning and promotions undersecretary Vicente Romano III resigns following the failed unveiling of the DOT’s new logo, ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda’ which looks almost exactly like the logo of Poland ’s tourism campaign.

“While Romano has shown honor and delicadeza in taking responsibility for the fiasco and letting go of his post – one of the very few Philippine public officials to do so in history – he still contends that using the Polska logo was not plagiarism.

“We would have been impressed with Romano’s self-sacrifice if only he hadn’t said that no copying took place. Anyone who is not legally blind and has a functioning brain can clearly see that the ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda’ logo was a blatant rip-off.

“The addition of a tarsier, removing the mountains, and changing the pine tree to coconut still  does not negate the fact that the font and critical elements such as a tree, waves, and country name – in short, the general design – were used as a basis for a bad copy job. Can you say ‘cut-and-paste’?

“Further, there were pronouncements from the DOT that no funds were spent on the ‘preview’ of the botched logo. They insisted the event was not a ‘launch’ despite the performance of half-naked dancers gyrating lasciviously in front of a huge backdrop of the Kay Ganda logo. But everyone knows a sexy dance number is mandatory for product and event launches! However, this dance was so inappropriate and in the poorest taste that the tagline should have read ‘Pilipinas Kay Landi’.

We can’t do better than this?! Image here.

“Let’s get back to the money, honey. Journalist Ellen Tordesillas posted on her blog photos of scanned documents that purport to show DOT spent at least P3.7 million for the event. Other estimates put the figure at closer to P5 million. Romano’s resignation might pay for his mistakes, but many questions still go unanswered.

“In related news, advertising agency Campaigns and Grey have disavowed any knowledge of their actions, put the blame on the client, and promised to never again be goaded into doing something against their better judgement. Let us hope that they will adhere to the ethics held as standards in their industry, no matter what the pressure applied and from whom, because earning the ridicule of the international advertising community and risking any potential awards they might win at Cannes is not worth the aggravation.

“Continuing our crawl across the Web, we met these spiders and invited them into our parlor for your edification and entertainment.

“In overseas news, Pope Benedict recently announced that condom use could be acceptable in selected cases, such as during interactions with male prostitutes, in order to reduce risk of contracting the AIDS virus. Female prostitutes should protest on the grounds that the edict is discriminatory and anti-women, like many Vatican policies.

“Catholics who are non-prostitutes might wonder whether they are also allowed to use condoms. Given the Roman Catholic Church’s firm and antiquated stand against artificial contraception, it might be that non-male-prostitute church members will be allowed condom use only upon certifying that they will not use rubbers to prevent pregnancy or risk hellfire and eternal damnation.

“Among the possible outcomes of the Pope’s declaration is that some Catholics fearful of contracting AIDS will have condom-protected sex – but only with male prostitutes, and no longer with their regular partners, leading to a boom in business among male sex workers. Investors could be eyeing business opportunities in condom manufacture and ‘bro-thels’.

“ North Korea has fired upon South Korea in a swaggering show of aggression that has raised tensions across the region and put various military forces on high alert. A local radio broadcaster commented the other day ‘Nagpaputok ng rebentador ang North Korea sa South Korea …’ No offense intended, but because Filipinos tend to use humor as an anxiety-coping mechanism, expect wisecracks to abound in the coming weeks.

“Count on it, when Pinoys joke, it’s either they’re happy and celebrating something, they’re mad and want to get back at someone, or they’re afraid and about to fill their pants with crap.

Pilipinas kay ganda, you’ve been listening to JennyO Radio, where we try to find you good news – but it’s really hard.”

Now you know I’m scared.  Let me go change my pants. ***

I vote for this tarsier to be DOT undersecretary – because he can’t be any worse than the last one. Image here.

Kay Ganda-Polska faceoff image from here.

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