As Bloggers Take Office In Malaysia, Gov't Orders ISPs To Block Certain Blogs
from the crack-down dept
Over the last couple of years, we’ve had a series of interesting stories about how the Malaysian gov’t is dealing with “blogs.” First, a gov’t official slammed blogs and tried to pass a law requiring bloggers to register with the government. Outrage over such a plan resulted in it being scrapped, but the majority ruling party still struggled with blogs — though tried to figure out ways to respond to them more feasibly than attacking them. It set up a gov’t agency to respond to bloggers, and later required certain candidates for offices to set up their own blogs. Of course, it also tried to crack down on some bloggers it didn’t like, including having a state owned paper file a libel suit over a blog.
So, with that background, it was interesting to spot two separate stories having to do with blogs in Malaysia. The first, talks about how one of the political bloggers who had been so critical of the gov’t turned that attention into getting himself elected as an opposition candidate. He’s now taking office. However, the other article shows that the ruling party hasn’t quite come to grips with these opposition blogs. Perhaps because of the victories of blogging members of the opposition party, the government has now ordered Malaysian ISPs to start blocking certain political blogs.
From the sound of it, the ruling party is still pretty confused about how this all works. While it gave lip service to blogging, when blogging appeared to help the opposition a lot more than it helped the ruling party, it decided to start blocking and censoring certain blogs critical of the government. This seems pretty likely to backfire, as it should only upset gov’t critics even more — including those who are now in the Parliament itself.