Sunday, January 21, 2007

Things Fall Apart

as Malaysia turns 50 in 2007. Instead of sitting and celebrating like a regal doyen, there's an increasingly farcical accumulation of drama.
Bloggers being sued poses questions of constitutional freedom of speech and larger question of independence of the media. From what I gather, the New Straits Times (NST) is suing 3 political bloggers for defamation. What baffles me is that the NST is media. Old media suing new media.

I think a lot of us Malaysians have already resorted to reading news online because the print one has just become a political mouth piece. It saddens me because I grew up reading the NST everyday. I feel so cheated that a once august institution has to resort to such cheap tactics.

Of course, this doesn't mean that bloggers are not bound by the law. Surely bloggers cannot use the anonymity offered by the internet to write anything they want. The constitution protects fundamental liberties within reasonable limits. There are boundaries. But within these boundaries lies the future of the country. Freedom of press and speech is suspect in Malaysia. This is no secret. Political blogging and the internet has been a natural spill over in this climate, an attempt to bridge the need for information.

Until there's political will to change, the boundaries by which Malaysia's future resides will be very bleak indeed.


Kak Teh said...

Jane, it will be an interesting test case. It has already received international attention. certainly a case of mainstream media vs alternative media.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, i couldn't agree more. i posted something like this some time back when the government threatened to sue bloggers who didn't toe the line. Malaysians should be allowed to view their opinions on the internet even if it meant criticizing the government or political officers. if the government was MAN enough, they'd take it constructively.

I mean, MILLIONS of people crictise and want Bush to step down. BILLIONS. But nobody can stop bloggers from making fun of George Bush or criticizing this decisions because they have freedom of speech and have a right to criticize leaders.

but Malaysians always threaten their citizens with arrest and want us to zip up all the time. Please lah, if they've nothing to hide and are MAN ENOUGH, take it as it is.

Jane Sunshine said...

Kak Teh: Indeed. As ordinary Malaysians, we can only walk along in support of Jeff Ooi and Rocky.

Marsha: Absolutely- in Britain, every move of the politicians are scrutinized by the press. Politicians do get up to nonsense but there's still a demand for accountability through the media.

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