Archive for the 'Bloggers' Category

Sniff-sniff! “We know who back the ‘anti-government blogs'”

Selangor Perkasa chairman Abdullah Mansor reportedly claims that they somehow ‘sense’ who fund the ‘anti-government blogs’ — although they haven’t got an iota of evidence so far and are still unable to pinpoint which of the many blogs are culpable.

He said that these blogs “are funded by either the United States or other foreign powers”.

This must be a conspiracy theory (and conspiracy theorists to boot) at its dizzying height.

Besides, surely being critical of the government isn’t, and shouldn’t be, tantamount to being unpatriotic to the country.

But more seriously, this is a crude reflection of a dense mind effortlessly insulting the intelligence of many conscientious Malaysians.

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Doggoned!

Of late, a certain canine feelin’ overwhelms Malaysian politics.

Do social media trigger social revolution?

Are Youtube, Facebook and Twitter new weapons of mass mobilization? Marwan Bishara of Al Jazeera leads the discussion with: Carl Bernstein, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist; Amy Goodman, the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!; Professor Emily Bell, the director of digital journalism at Columbia University; Evgeny Morozov, the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom; and Professor Clay Shirky, the author of Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.

The Net widens

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 25 – The Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 will be amended to expand its scope and include ‘publications’ posted online and plug loopholes, said Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam.

He said among other things, the Home Ministry was looking at the definition of “publication” and whether it should include Internet content, blogs or Facebook to expand the Act due to the changing landscape of the digital era.

Mahmood said the ministry was working with the Attorney-General’s Chambers to study the proposed amendments.

As we can see, the government is considering to define the term ‘publication’ wide enough so as to include things said and published on the Internet. See here for full story.

When the blog gets popular, the popular gets blocked?

What do you do when a blog becomes too popular for the liking of the powers-that-be?

Well, it appears that a ‘solution’ has been found: you just gazette it as a ‘political association’ — with all the accompanying rules that govern a political entity.

Below is the comment made by the blog’s (The Online Citizen) columnist, Leong Sze Hian, regarding the turn of event as posted in Malaysiakini:

I would like to devote my weekly column for this week to the Singapore blog The Online Citizen (TOC).

I have been a columnist for TOC since it started in December 2006, and have written over 300 articles. Recently the Singapore government has emailed TOC to inform them that it will be gazetted a as political association.

That means TOC is now required to declare its owners, editorial team, administrators, and designate a president, treasurer and secretary in accordance with the regulations.

The move also means the website will be barred from receiving funds from foreign donors and from allowing foreigners to participate in its events.

What does this mean for my regular ‘Uniquely Singapore’ column on TOC?

Well, for starters, under the rules for a political association, I will not be able to write, report, analyse or comment about the elections, when the next election expected to take place this year comes.

Since there is a prohibition on affiliating with any political party or supporting any political candidate, does it mean that I cannot write about a political party’s manifesto, or interview a political candidate, etc?

A world’s first

Since TOC is also required to be registered with the Media Development Authority (MDA), does it mean that I will be subject to censorship under the MDA’s rules, and just like say RTM, be wary of putting up ‘undesirable’ content?

TOC has sent an appeal to Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong to reconsider the gazetting.

Singaporeans, Singaporean bloggers, and perhaps their counterparts and proponents of freedom of expression all over the world may be holding their breath, as this saga continues. 

Will history be made, as a group of citizen bloggers who are all volunteers – with not a single full-time staff, and no funding – become the first blogging web site in the world to be gazetted by a government as a political association? The deadline given to TOC to comply is 24 January. 

Charge of the light brigade

Like everything else in contemporary Malaysian life, this piece requires a caveat before I can really begin to write without being painfully misunderstood or, worse, getting myself into trouble by having some serious-looking blokes lodging a police report against me. 

I am saying this because I am reminded of the reported case of a Malaysian blogger, writing by his cyber name of Hassan Skodeng, who got himself into trouble for having written a satirical piece or parody about the powerhouse Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB). He is to be charged in court today (Sept. 2, 2010) under Section 233(1)(a) of the Multimedia and Communications Act 1998, for allegedly “creating and spreading lies with the malicious intent to hurt others.” If found guilty, he is punishable by imprisonment up to a year and/or fine of RM50,000 or less. No laughing matter here. 

According to a news report in The Star today (Sept. 2, 2010), Skodeng’s article asserted that TNB would be suing WWF for organising an ‘Earth Hour’ campaign, which was costing the corporation ‘millions in unrealised revenue’. 

To be sure, I am not trying to make light of this case as it does appear that the authorities concerned have taken this supposedly satire rather seriously. Come to think of it, perhaps there’s a blessing in disguise from this episode in that satires are finally taken seriously by people who matter — instead of being merely dismissed as balderdash.

For the rest of the article, see here.

BUM do in Subang Jaya

Bloggers Universe Malaysia or ‘BUM 2010’ – will be held this coming Saturday, May 22 at the Lake View Club, Subang Jaya.

Organised by the Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI) in association with All-Blogs (the national alliance of bloggers) and a group of socio-political bloggers, BUM2010 will feature Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim in a keynote address, and also the Minister of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing, Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin in a special presentation on Internet-related issues.

Themed ‘Bloggers moving Malaysia forward’, the event will also showcase a number of speakers from the political, journalistic and blogging fraternity.

See here for details.