Malaysia To Set Up Government Agency To Respond To Blogs

from the respond-in-kind dept

Over the last few weeks we've been following the hubbub in Malaysia, where some government officials were quite upset with some bloggers leading to at least two bloggers being sued and the possibility of forcing bloggers to register with the government -- a plan that was later rejected. However, now the government has come up with a new plan to deal with what it still calls "lies" being spread online: it will create a special government unit to monitor and respond to what various internet sites are saying. Assuming they identify themselves as working for the government, this sounds like a pretty good idea. Rather than trying to intimidate or force critics offline, take them on with facts. If sites are not telling the truth or even being misleading, respond and explain why. That's the great thing about the internet. You can always counter whatever is being said about you, and it doesn't require the use of any lawyers or lawsuits.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    HateSpeechifier, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 3:38am

    And Hate Speech too please?

    They should do this with 'hate speech' too. If someones spouting hate against some other group, making a law to silence them either gives them more credibility or creates a bigger injustice.

    Look at the Palestinian elected leadership, Hamas. The US & Israel got Hamas flagged as a terrorist organisation, and hence news reports do not report what Hamas's says. But since Hamas is the chosen mouthpiece of the Palestinians, it means the Palestine people are effectively denied the right to have their side heard.

    Israel kidnapped the elected leadership of Palestine, but the news reports said Israel arrested terrorists....

    That's the big problem with hate speech laws, you can silence a critic, instead of responding to them, by pretending to be a victim and using hate speech laws to silence them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Shohat, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 5:06am

    Idiotic

    The government should just stop reading blogs and giving them free publicity. The only people that read blogs are other bloggers, and the press.
    Press can be controled much easier than bloggers, and since blogs don't really have readers, they dont actually have to go after the blogs themselves...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Bob Jones, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 5:15am

    I like the idea, it errs on the side of free speech but without letting trash ruin the governments image, its a better move than silencing them.

    Maybe the US government should have one to take out the crap on Fox and MSNBC, ofcourse Democrats would do Fox and Republicans MSNBC - then maybe there might be some fair and balanced news somewhere?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 5:30am

    Transparency is GOOD

    As long as they respond to the bloggers with transparency (on their own server, stating their names and offices), and don't jsut lie to cover up the truth, then I can't see how this could possibly be a bad thing.

    Idiotic Shohat: THIS IS A BLOG.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Nick, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 5:58am

    Re: Transparency is GOOD

    >>and don't jsut lie to cover up the truth, then I can't see how this could possibly be a bad thing

    Since when is "truth" an issue in blogs? :-)
    If all hate speach and lies and flaming in blogs would be removed 90% would be gone.

    Will we also have goverment officials giving counter arguments in bars and pubs when people are talking bad about the goverment?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    ryuken, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:01am

    things to think on

    Well, its rather obvious that the Malaysian government is having a big issue with the internet, seeing that its something that they r not able to control unlike the more traditional types of media such as print, radio and TV, and there's a rather serious issue of government control over these in Malaysia.

    Something else to think about too, is that most of the so called attacks here is actually directed at the coalition of political parties that currently forms the government, so there's an issue of misusing public funds for the purpose of defending the political party.

    All in all, the Malaysian government will need to realize that unlike the more traditional media types, the entire world is free to respond towards anything that they put out now, as they r not able to blackout any responses like what they've been doing, short of resorting to internet censorship

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Andrew N, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 9:23am

    Having Lived in Malaysia...

    for three and a half months I did learn some things about the people there. 90% of the country is still very rural and small-townish where they might not even have phones, let alone the internet. What they're dealing with is the vast and drastic difference between the rural areas and the technologically advanced cities such as Kuala Lumpur.

    All that said, I really do think this could turn out to be a good idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Jedediah, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 9:55am

    Hello big brother.

    I would be slightly creped out if i thought the government was reading all the blogs. I think it is a first step toward shutting down the ones they dislike and arresting those that publish them. I know this won't end well.

    All they need to do is read the paper to understand how the people see their government. This is paranoia.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    daisy, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 10:35am

    Re: Having Lived in Malaysia...

    Andrew is right - the real issue in Malaysia is the disparity of technology and the means to get information. The free speech of the new media is fine as long as there is equal opportunity to access, check it out, and come to one's own conclusions about it. Irresponsible blogging cannot be checked by the simple force of an informed and broadly read audience. So this move by the government is actually a reasonable one - given the tight balance they must maintain between political and racial factions, fundamentalist religious groups, and the drive to keep multi-racial/cultural identities without losing national coherence. IF they can do this transparently and clear-headedly we might all learn something useful about the dynamics of new media.

    Come to think of it, for all the internet access we have here, I'm not so sure we have an informed and broadly read thinking audience ...

    Problem with freedom of speech and information is that it does not come with an automatic inclination to be well-informed and responsible. ... "and so it goes".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Mike, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Having Lived in Malaysia...

    "Problem with freedom of speech and information is that it does not come with an automatic inclination to be well-informed and responsible. ... "and so it goes"."


    Amen!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    skh, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 1:51pm

    Damn. I wonder how much those jobs will pay, because it's crazy talk to think that I could coin money by bitch-slapping bloggers online. If y'all find the address to email resumes, please, by all means, post it here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    fudgepot., Apr 29th, 2007 @ 3:31pm

    "- given the tight balance they must maintain between political and racial factions, fundamentalist religious groups, and the drive to keep multi-racial/cultural identities without losing national coherence."

    this can't be used as an excuse. would you rather have Malaysians who are pushed to think and discuss these issues or a Malaysian culture that remains ignorant and passive?

    we need to look at who we're dealing with here. the blogs that they targeted were those who were just stating their opinion with reasonings behind them and not propaganda websites that were asking people to take to the streets and burn down buildings. these are things that any average Malaysian Ali can differentiate and take into consideration.

    whoever's pushing for this policy must have something to hide if he fears being questioned in the first place. *jeng jeng JENG*

    but then again, if there's going to actually be a government representative responding to these blog posts, maybe the rest of us would be getting the answers we've been waiting for this whole while.

    like, after 70 laptops and CPUs have been stolen in the condo apartments in Cyberia, Cyberjaya within the past two years, why hasn't Cyberia fixed their security cameras, and why haven't the cops caught the damn thieves!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    echolalia, Apr 30th, 2007 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: Having Lived in Malaysia...

    Having said that, and acknowledging the govt's control over traditional forms of media, isn't there even more of an argument for allowing free speech?
    Information is information, the "veracity" of that information, to some degree, is in the eye of the beholder.
    Couldn't free speech on blogs / the internet be a tool to counter the divisive actions or comments of particular interest groups?
    If the govt is to become final arbiter for what's "responsible" and "truthful", who chooses the definition of "responsibility" and "truth"? I guess we're then assuming that the govt only has the people's best interests, and that the govt won't pander to particular interest groups' notion of the "truth". Colour me skeptical, government don't traditionally have a good track record of being impartial moderators when regulating speech.
    And if the focus is on a "broadly read thinking audience", why can't the internet/free speech be a tool towards that end? Allowing free speech would satisfy the "broadly read" requirement. And if you have qualms about veracity and truth, while I agree that it is easier to write something up on wikipedia than it is to publish a book, Mein Kampf is a published book as well, and not exactly a "responsible" one at that.
    I think freedom of speech and information does not come with an automatic inclination to be well-informed and responsible no aspect of life itself comes with an automatic inclination to be well-informed and responsible. But freedom of speech and information at least allows the reader to look at more information, and to make a decision as to which "truth" they wish to follow, if indeed any.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    anon, Oct 28th, 2007 @ 8:56pm

    above ALL things - promote LOVE.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    monish, May 5th, 2008 @ 12:41pm

    need verification

    i recieve an offer letter from harbour view hotel and after that solicitor is asking for 750$ for visa processing is there anybody is able to help me for verification..........

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This