The Hound of the Wolf

For the strength of Pack is in the Wolf, and the strength of Wolf is in the Pack -Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Meme and the RH Bill: A perspective from my development communication course

I am enjoying development communication a lot! It has helped me in my career in ICT4D.

Communication plays an important role in the achievement and realization of certain goals. It plays a vital influence in the spreads of ideas, behavior and style within a certain or culture or what we all know as the 'meme'. The readings of DEV 202 would tell us that communication, on its most complete context is composed of source, destination, intended goal, message, medium, interpretation of the receiver and actions resulting from the receipt of the message.

In the context of meme, each component mentioned is affected how the message is being received based on the cultural context. In the case of Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, such assertion impacts how Pinoys receive the real essence of the bill. The nation is somehow equally divided on its stand with each side having its own valid reason to support or not support the RH bill. The anti-RH groups are mostly composed of Catholic / religious organizations, influential families, some NGOs and "family-oriented" politicians. The message that the RH bill is immoral because it means killing or aborting life has a strong impact to the general public. Credible source (i.e. anti-RH bills doctors), strong message (i.e. RH bill kills), innocent public and as a result, support for the anti-RH cause (actions).

On the other side of the fence, the pro-RH bill uses the credible sources as well but packaging the RH bills as something what the country really needs. Messages are often represented with a pregnant woman with 10 children and living on a kariton, occurrence of maternal deathes, proliferation of STDs and teenage pregnancies. The argument of pro-RH bill attempts to challenge the conservative nature of Filipinos when it comes to discussions like sex and procreation. And these packaging has gained tremendous support from both the public and the politicians as well.

Meme is all over in the discussions. Senators challenging each other for debates. DOH being prosecuted for promoting family planning programs and Catholic holding its ground strongly and debating with everybody. At the end of the it is the individual who decides whether RH bill is ok or not. And messages need not to be verbal. Just look and observe in your surroundings.