Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Siow Kia Kong Lap Sup !

The government had recently said that actions would be taken against bloggers and online newspapers that touches on "sensitive" subject matters. As postings and discussions on these "sensitive" subject matters posed a threat to national security and disturbed the harmony and peace of the existing multi ethnic relationships. Those responsible may also be charged under the Sedition Act, Internal Security Act, and other relevant laws.

What constitute "sensitive" subject matters ? In the context of Malaysians sensitivities, this is indeed a very interesting question ! The concern here is, any subject matter can potentially become a "sensitive" subject. Should Malaysians just hide their heads in the sand or walk away from the responsibilities of voicing their opinions when the subject become sensitive because another narrow minded group claimed it is so ? Aren't we threading on a very thin line of managed liberties ?

The government of Malaysia must deliver its commitment of guarantee under the MSC's Bill of Guarantee to promote the freedom of expression in the Internet. Some bloggers may go overboard or exaggerated in their postings, but the built-in participative mechanisms of the Internet will allow Internet users to read various reporting and opinions on the disputed subjects. The Internet is also a productive venue for Malaysians to have interactive participations or discussions in a civil and educated manner.

Therefore, the best defense for stopping irresponsible postings in the Internet is to ensure maximum guarantee of freedom of expression in the Internet. The government should not subject the online community to threat of prosecutions under various acts such as Printing Presses and Publications Act, Internal Security Act, Sedition Act, etc. Attempt to put online users under indirect threat of persecutions may result in drawing Malaysians away from truly expressing their fears, thoughts, opinions, criticisms, etc.

Ability for a nation to ride the cyber wave to develop a mature information oriented society depend on how sincere a government is willing to encourage greater freedom of expressions on the cybersphere. The government must allow greater expression of differing opinions to mobilize Malaysians into a tolerance society capable of formulating and articulating our thoughts and position in an increasingly borderless world.

Is it legitimate for blogger to voice his frustrations or perceived injustices through online postings ? It is the responsibilities of the government or other concern individuals to voice their disagreements or facts through the same venue to dispute the posted misinformation or misconceptions. It is only through the exchange of differences in opinions via a lively, peaceful, and healthy blogging or interactive online forum that we can promote a civil society - a society that respect law and order.

I guess the government is worried that majority of Malaysians many not be able to differentiate facts and fallacies to the extend of developing unmanageable outburst of negative emotions or violences that may cause racial tensions, riots, or violences. But we also need to realize that, majority of Malaysians are now well educated ( I believe our national literacy rate is above 90%) and are capable of differentiating truths and misrepresentations of facts. Of course, in any country, there are always a small group of biased interest pariahs willing to jeopardize the national interests by instigating non peaceful activities to perpetuate their selfish desires. Narrow minded people with selfish objective will always resort to classifying a subject as "sensitive" whenever it is to their advantaged. Again, the right approach is to reprimand these non peaceful and narrow minded troublemakers, not the bloggers or the online community.

The government should not allow majority of Malaysians to be put under the sieged mentality of fearing to speak out the truth or blowing the whistle against unethical, immoral, and unprofessional conducts and practices in Malaysia. It is my sincere hope that, the current administration have the political wills to adopt a more liberal, moderate, and transparent approaches when dealing in the free flow of information in Internet and other media.

After all, maintaining a web log or blogging, is a very healthy and peaceful fun. If a blogger want to talk nonsense ( like me ), then let him talk. Let him shiok sendiri ! Truth will always find a way out ! Anyway, what harm can a blogger do to the national security ? At least, he is educated enough not to be influenced into wildly participating in street demonstration to show his stupidities to the world....

In the name of respecting sensitivity, if this posting is inappropriate, please do tell me. Sincerely, I will remove it unreservedly, and immediately.

No comments: