Malaysia's Former Prime Minister A Fan Of Blogs As Alternative News Source

from the nice-of-him-to-say-that-now... dept

It's been interesting to see how various governments around the world deal with the freedom of speech issues that the internet has been creating. We've seen Thailand, Turkey and Brazil all block sites at one point or another, after some were upset about some user-created content. However, it appears that at least some are recognizing that you can't make everyone shut up when every computer is its own printing press. Earlier this month, we wrote about how some Malaysian politicians were so upset with some blogs criticizing local policies that there was talk of forcing bloggers to register with the government along with a few poorly thought out statements about how bloggers were liars. While other politicians rejected the idea of forcing bloggers to register, it's interesting to see the country's former prime minister, Mahathir Mohmad quoted as saying that he believes blogs are a valuable source of news -- especially given the "tightly controlled" media. Of course, as the article notes that Mahathir was criticized during his own administration for suppressing the media -- so the praise rings a bit hollow. As one person in the story notes: "I just wished that he would have said the same thing when he was prime minister."


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    ipanema, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 7:49pm

    hmmm...

    I'm surprised. But it's welcome news.

     

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  2.  
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    dorpus, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 7:58pm

    The Power of Ignorance

    In countries like Malaysia, blogs can easily be used to spread rumors that people want to believe, that Jews eat dead babies or whatever. If Mahathir "likes blogs", one can read into the true meaning.

    If every computer is a printing press, then every computer can also become a factory of lies.

     

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  3.  
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    Charles Griswold, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 8:35pm

    Re: The Power of Ignorance

    In countries like Malaysia, blogs can easily be used to spread rumors that people want to believe, that Jews eat dead babies or whatever. If Mahathir "likes blogs", one can read into the true meaning.

    As opposed to countries that are not like Malaysia, where everything written in blogs is the utter, unadulterated truth?

    If every computer is a printing press, then every computer can also become a factory of lies.

    Translation: "People can lie." Gee, really? Welcome to the real world, dorpus. Where have you been living up until now?

     

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  4.  
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    dorpus, Apr 19th, 2007 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re: The Power of Ignorance

    My point was that Americans tend to equate free expression with the development of a tolerant democracy. In Asia, the opposite is happening -- mobs of nationalist vigilantes feed each other biased information, and make a sport of going after people they don't like. Some Japanese blogs would have us believing that the VT killer is hailed as a great national hero in Korea, selectively quoting offensive cartoons or other blogs, like this one.

    http://blog.livedoor.jp/tonchamon/

     

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  5.  
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    bubba, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 1:05am

    so this means

    they wont be killing corry doctorow afterall? damn! will some bullshit dictatorial country please rid the world of this selp-important goatse lover?

     

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  6.  
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    skaheru, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 1:51am

    the power of ignorance

    Boss, even if Mahatir were suppressing the media during his time at the helm, there were no blogs then; so we should be happy that he's realised how important free thought and speech are.
    On dorpus' worries about the spreading of lies - believe me, that's the essence of free speech; normally a media house that is identified as having told a lie is blacklisted as unreliable and won't be listened to - same as would happen to blogs such as the one you sent me to (in Japanese or something!)

     

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  7.  
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    Paul, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 3:47am

    Typical

    A typical Mike post: you have to skip the top 75% of the "article" to get to what the headline is actually about.

     

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  8.  
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    Happymellon, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 5:16am

    Re: Typical

    You have to skip 75% to get to the point? The "75%" before explains the situation so you have it in context. If you don't like context you can always read /.

     

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  9.  
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    dorpus, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 8:49am

    Re: the power of ignorance

    Normally, they should be blacklisted you say. What if the propaganda mills are clever, there are millions of them, and people who question their claims are called "traitors" and viciously persecuted?

     

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  10.  
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    The infamous Joe, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 11:19am

    Idea.

    Maybe we should send a supermodel to kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

    Sorry, I had to. :-/

     

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  11.  
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    Francis Burdett, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 12:16pm

    well unfortunately it is surprising that Dr. Mahathir instead of decrying the "tightly controlled" media did not come out and say the "Jewish controlled" media.

    He has in the past uttered some undoubtedly anti-Semitic statements.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahathir_bin_Mohamad

    "On October 16, 2003 (shortly before he stepped down as prime minister), Mahathir said at the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Putrajaya, "We Muslims are actually very strong, 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Nazis killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them." He also named Israel as "the enemy allied with most powerful nations." Israel strongly criticized the remarks. "The speech was also condemned by the European Union and Germany in particular, as well as by the United States, Australia and other Western states. Germany summoned Malaysia's charge d'affaires in Berlin to protest at the 'totally unacceptable' comments. Speaking for the EU, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said that Dr Mahathir had employed 'expressions that were gravely offensive, very strongly anti-Semitic and... strongly counter to principles of tolerance, dialogue and understanding'."

     

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  12.  
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    Baskaran, Jul 27th, 2007 @ 5:30pm

    PURE WISDOM & ENLIGHTENMENT

    Dear Earthlings.......we once started from the caves. Naked though...we were literally transparent...nothing to hide....we did not apologise for the truth....but we only apologised for our feelings.......Today after starting education..schools..colleges..universities...we sit at the UN as Doctors,Lawyers, Engineers, Politicians, 'peacemakers'...etc. But during the course of the meetings...we call/curse each other as "Stupid, stupid like a Donkey, why are you so stupid like a Donkey!" Please take note....In God's creation we have everything....Plants,animals, man..etc. But if we say that the Donkey is stupid...then it amounts to saying that if the Creation (Donkey) is stupid, then the creator is also 'stupid' ! Now who created us? ! The 'stupid creator' creator created us ! Therefore we are also stupid ! Its like spitting on our own face ! This is "THE POT IS CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK" ! You know why we started the Second World War? Because we felt that the First World War was not Complete!! Now I hear our Earthlings saying that the Second World War is not complete !! Let's start the third (nuclear) then ! If we do not put an end to wars ..then there is no choice...because the Wars will put an end to Us !The craziest thing in this world to do is to do the same thing over and over..and each time we do the same thing we are expecting a different result! " I " would love to talk to Tun Mahathir ! We, ALL the earthlings NEED HELP. Necessity is the mother of inventions! NO MAN OR WOMAN IS WORTH YOUR TEARS, AND THE ONE WHO IS WILL NOT MAKE YOU CRY ! God Bless

     

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