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Mar 1, 2008

Malaysian minister warns bloggers


In the recent Malaysia election campaigns, Malaysia opposition mounts campaign in cyberspace. Opposition parties turn to cyberspace, mainly are using blogs and youtube to express their anger towards government. The opposition parties are rarely mentioned, but thanks to the internet they have begun campaigning feverishly in cyberspace with the aim of reaching young, urban, educated voter. Major mainstream media are filled with flattering stories on the government and its achievements ahead of March 8 general elections.

“They control the television but we’ve got YouTube now,” said 31-years-old Lee Sean Li, an account who avidly surfs the internet for alternative news and complains there are only negative glimpses of the opposition in the main media.

Blogs in Malaysia are becoming the last bastion of freedom of speech. In this age of convergence (which I would like to define as the death of traditional media as we know it), blogs have provided an environment for people like Jeff Oii.

In fact, more netizens were posting more controversial issues in the blogs. Opposition bloggers in particular are getting influential, their news being noticed and listened to by government, mainstream media and the public. Thus, increase public awareness and expose a lot of wrongdoings in the government.

The opposition leader Lim Kit Siang posted a speech on the upcoming elections, just minutes after Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi dissolved parliament earlier this month. The opposition leader is very professional and clever in using of technology. “Blogging is one way to get word out and an opportunity to circumvent media control,” said Lim from the Democratic Action Party (DAP), which is aiming to dent the government’s thumping majority in the upcoming vote. “We cannot neutralize the state-controlled media,” he told AFP. “But Internet pick-up rates will keep getting higher. We will not be blacked out forever.”

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranks Malaysia 124 out of 169 on its worldwide press freedom index, and says the main media are “often compelled to ignore or to play down the many events organised by the opposition”.

Political dissident and ex-deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim also writes his own blog which has news links and videos of his Keadilan party’s campaign activities. Anwar last year used the site to release a video clip which allegedly showed a high-profile lawyer brokering top judicial appointments — a scandal which triggered a full royal commission of inquiry.

Thus, it is no doubt that Malaysian minister has warned bloggers that they are being monitored. Malaysian government has also tried to introduce internet laws to control bloggers and prevent the, from spreading “disharmony, controversial materials on their blogs.

Credits : http://news.id.msn.com/regional/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1253126


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