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Shaziman – “It’s nice to have a list of bloggers” April 6, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics.
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These reports are even more ‘terror‘.

Radio Australia reported it. We even made it to the International Herald Tribune.

It could have been for something really worthy and spectacular – like “Brave ACA arrests 199 corrupt politicians in a Parliament swoop”, or “Government officials resign over Mongolian Murder case”, or even “Crime rate plummets after police reforms”.

Heck. We’ll even take, “Works Minister resigns over secret toll agreements”.

No – It had to be this.

(IHT/AP, 5 April) (….) Shaziman said in the report that he welcomed blogging, but that negative postings could harm national security.

The report did not say what Shaziman meant by malicious and negative content. The government uses such terms for topics including criticism of the government, and discussions on race and religion — sensitive matters in the multi-ethnic, Muslim-majority country.

A ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to policy, confirmed Shaziman’s remarks. Shaziman could not immediately be reached Thursday for comment on the report.

Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said bloggers have made the “business of government more challenging” and in some instances, caused unnecessary distraction.

“Some merely inform, others argue a point of view, and a few simply distort and sensationalize,” Najib said in a speech to Malaysia’s top diplomats. “There is now more competition for readership, viewership, eyeball, revenues, profits and yes, even infamy.” (Con’t)

(Yes, Najib. C4 is kinda sensational, don’t you think?)

But this one takes the cake.

Bloggers may have to reveal identities
(AFP) The battle to control cyberspace in Malaysia intensified today as a minister said bloggers may be forced to register their names to avoid unjust claims being posted on the Internet.

Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Shaziman Abu Mansor said his department was considering an option to make surfers identify themselves so that the government can track their activities.

“We might follow some other countries who register bloggers as well,” he told AFP. “That’s what Singapore is doing as well.”

It’s much better if we can have a list of active bloggers … We want to know who are the bloggers,” he added.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and a number of other ministers have launched attacks on Malaysian bloggers and Internet surfers in recent months, accusing them of spreading lies about the government.

Two prominent bloggers, Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Attan, are currently being sued for defamation by the government-linked New Straits Times Press newspaper group in an unprecedented case decried by rights activists as an attack on free expression.

No firm proposals

However, Shaziman denied he was floating the idea, first mentioned by him in parliament Wednesday, to curb comments published on the Internet.

“It’s nice to have a list of bloggers, whoever they are,” he said.

Ministry officials said there were no firm proposals to register blogs but that the option was being considered because of anonymous posts.

“For those bloggers who are anonymous, it’s very hard for us to take action against them if they post on their blog,” an official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

“Some of the bloggers are anonymous, so they are using their blog to write wrong information about leaders and all those people who are in high positions,” said the official.

Easy pickings

Writing on Wednesday, Ahirudin said politicians, including Shaziman, did not understand bloggers and were making the attacks out of fear.

“We have people like Shahziman who think they can bully bloggers because bloggers are small individuals and make easy pickings,” he wrote.

Malaysia’s media is kept under tight control with laws allowing the government to revoke or suspend newspapers’ publishing permits – a power that has been used several times in the last year.

Blogs have seen an increase in popularity as Malaysians take to cyberspace to discuss politics and social issues.

Singapore? Of all the countries you want to emulate on internet and free expression, you pick Singapore??!!

And, were bloggers wrong about:-
i) The prince who bashed a woman?
ii) The play-plane?
iii) That house?
iv) Sleeping beauty(not)
v) The Adnan ad-lib
vi) The PR firm down south
vii) The secret toll rates, and many others!

“We want to know who are the bloggers. (…) It’s nice to have a list of bloggers.”

….. To ask for our autographs?
Sure thing.
Come see me at Parliament on Monday. 10 am.

Oh.

Unless you’re one of those regular absentee MPs? Come to think of it, I’d like that particular list, thanks very much.

Otherwise, dream on, mate.

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Comments»

1. Klaw - April 6, 2007

Actually, I think the government just doesn’t understand.
It’s an exercise in futility in registering bloggers because if someone really wanted to post slander/lies, they just need to log on to wordpress or blogger to create a new account, then post away.

They should focus their efforts in addressing blogger’s concerns of corruption and incompetency in their administration instead of demonizing bloggers.

2. Crankshaft - April 6, 2007

Oh dear. I hadn’t realised the controversy was this big!

You’ve gotta hand it to them for panic attacks – the government is so used to controlling the citizens, they now have no idea how to handle this situation.

..And, were bloggers wrong about..

I don’t think the issue is whether bloggers were right or wrong. these are issues which the governments prefers to have swept under the carpet and not mentioned or discussed.

We don’t seem to be adhering to their wishes now, do we?

3. alliedmartster - April 7, 2007

Be afraid, be very afraid…
More is to come.
Eli, these guys are now even afraid of their shadows!

We have just opened a new chapter in Malaysian blogosphere!
we are, proudly NAB!

4. rodsjournal - April 10, 2007

Eli,

Singapore is definitely not the place to emulate – from our point of veiw – if we want New Media freedom. The S’pore govt is merely more sophisticated, and this includes creating a culture of fear (and apathy) that prevents most S’porean bloggers to engage politically.

Also, your minister is mistaken…there’s no law to register bloggers per se, as such. See this post in Singbloodypore, which I hope clarifies things. http://singabloodypore.rsfblog.org/archive/2007/04/07/government-plans-to-force-bloggers-to-register.html

rod

5. JerryWho - April 10, 2007

erm…

what about China?

that’s a good place to start too… it creates a whole new category of job market: Internet Police.


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