Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sex, Lies & Blogs

June Tan is conducting a survey on the impact of blogs in the democratisation process in Malaysia.

Well, the way I look at it, blogs certainly is having a significant impact in the policies and politics in this country. And I certainly see it's impact and effectiveness increasing over time.

Why, you might ask?

Well, this year alone, there have probably been at least half-a-dozen times whereby our Internet-challenged cabinet ministers and deputy ministers have made veiled and direct threats on blogs and blog contents. I certainly remember the "watch what you say" type comments made by our Minister of Energy, Water and Communications, Datuk Seri Lim Keng Yaik, our Minister of Information, Datuk Zainuddin Maidin and even our Prime Minister, Pak Lah himself.

Yesterday, we have two deputy ministers concurrently issuing veiled threats or warnings against blogs. Hence, surely,judging by the reaction of the worried Government ministers, blogs are making a serious enough impact.

Deputy Information Minister Datuk Zahid Hamidi said that "we do not want the public to be deceived by inaccurate information including those that are slanderous."
He said in the era of information and communication technology (ICT), it was impossible to curb the bloggers or to stop them from spreading lies through the internet. He added that the public were still gullible and could be easily influenced by the inaccurate information they obtained from the internet.

Ahmad Zahid also advised bloggers to be ethnical and responsible in their writings. "They should have ethics ... everyone have ethics and self-respect. We hope the bloggers will also have ethics and self respect," he said.
Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha on the other hand contemplates the official registration of bloggers, as a "'stricter' way to stop cyberspace writers from spreading disharmony and lies."
Kong said: “We need to have stricter cyber laws to prevent these bloggers from disseminating disharmony, chaos, seditious material and lies. We are talking about creating cyber laws to control those who misuse the Internet."

“We want our bloggers to be responsible, to keep within the rules and not put up seditious articles that can create disharmony and chaos,” he said.
I completely agree that bloggers must have ethics and self-respect. I've put my name down on the blog. I've made plenty of criticisms (and occasional supports) for government policies in my many posts, but every single one of them are supported by strong arguments, rationales and evidence. That's ethics and self-respect, which is much more than many in the mainstream media and even the Barisan Nasional (BN) elected representatives themselves.

Deputy Minister Kong made reference to the recent case whereby Sdr Teng Chang Kim, state assemblyman for Sungai Pinang, Selangor exposed an alleged illicit affair between two BN representatives in Parliament via his blog.

If a blogger has committed a real crime, such as defamation through the spread of lies, take him to court and prove the case. If the blogger has committed no such crime when exposing unpleasant truths with regards to government or BN officials, Deputy Minister Kong should instead "be responsible", "have ethics and self-respect" by not insinuating serious allegations and spreading lies with regards to the integrity of the relevant blogger.

We certainly "do not want the public to be deceived by inaccurate information including those that are slanderous."
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