We've written an awful lot about the rise of political blogging
in Malaysia. The government there has had something of a love-hate affair with blogs for quite some time, starting with a plan to force blogs to register
, to later telling various candidates for government they were requiring them to blog
, to having a special agency
set up to respond to bloggers. More recently, though, things have taken a very negative turn, as various opposition party bloggers were able to use their blog popularity to catapult themselves into office
, the ruling party began cracking down, even sentencing leading bloggers to jail
The good news on that front, however, is that a court has decided that the arrest was illegal
and the blogger is to be freed. Though, you get the feeling that the government will continue to try to punish him.
In the meantime, one of the most interesting political bloggers in Malaysia may be the former Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who apparently championed many of the free speech restrictions that allow the crackdowns. We had mentioned his embrace of blogging
about a year and a half ago, and now the NY Times has written up a more detailed article, claiming that now that he's no longer in power, he's had quite a change of heart concerning restrictions on freedom of the press
. Of course, much of it seems to come off as whining that people won't listen to him any more:
"Where is the press freedom? Broadcast what I have to say! What I say is not even accurately published in the press!"
While it is a good thing that he's realized how problematic free speech restrictions are, there is a bit of karmic justice in having him find himself stymied by rules that he championed and used to his own advantage when in power.