Sunday, July 29, 2007

Malaysian BlogosFear!

Funny enough, there was another article in TheStar today, about the blogosphere. This time, with all the big-guns of UMNO weighing in. I sometimes wonder why only UMNO is afraid of the bloggers. Why aren't any of the other BN component parties worried. In fact, Lim Kheng Yeik even came out to defend Internet freedoms a couple of times.

Anyway, there's just one quote that I'd like to take from the article. This was said by our PM's son-in-law over this matter. He (who holds no political office at all) says:

"It looked like there are no laws in cyberspace except the laws of the jungle. Cyberspace is not a place for lawlessness."
Well, all I can say is that this is more FUD from people in power who do not like what is happening on the Net. There are plenty of laws in cyberspace, just not the laws that they particularly like. If I were to compare the lawlessness of Cyberspace versus Johor Bahru (JB), I'd say that it was worse in JB. The real-world is infinitely more harmful than the Net. Nobody has ever gotten raped or murdered on the Internet.

In fact, the self regulating power of the Internet has shown that it can control itself, many times already. When someone mis-behaves on the Internet, punishment is meted out instantaneously and with consensus. For example, when someone says something offensive on a forum, he/she will first be cautioned, and then their accounts banned, if they persist. If they feel that they've been wronged, they will always have an avenue to lodge a complaint. To avoid confusion, all terms and conditions are stated clearly and adhered to, unlike our Constitution.

Our country is just currently experiencing what many other countries have gone through in the past. The Net is a great leveller and the people in power do not like it. There has traditionally been two approaches regarding this problem. One approach, taken by less tolerant nations, is to censor the Net. However, our MSC Bill of Guarantees does not allow our government to do it without suffering serious repercussions. The other approach, taken by more civilised nations, is to embrace the Net and use it as a tool to reach out directly to the people.

For example, in the UK, they have a system of e-Petitions. In essense, this allows the people to complain directly to the PM, with all their grouses. According to this system, anyone can start a petition. Any petition that gains enough signatures of support, will then be sent to the PM, in person and he will respond to it personally. I can't imagine this kind of thing being done in Malaysia. But this is an example of how the Gahmen can learn to embrace the Net and use it for something constructive.

Unfortunately, our Gahmen isn't particularly interested in change, especially change that comes from external pressures.

PS: I had just signed an e-petition today. I was the 13,335 person to sign up for a petition to the government to force the BBC to open up it's iPlayer to different platforms. The BBC isn't serving the interest of the public by tying up it's iPlayer to only one platform. The general public contribute to the funding of the BBC, including non-Windows users.


koln_auhc said...

Check out how our lovely neighbours are doing with tracking stuff.

We are actually witnessing the horizontalisation of power, a slow death to the top-down political structure. This is a remarkable evolution that is happening in our life-time, something worthy to mention to our future generation.

Shawn Tan said...

hehe, I'd already blogged about that when it was first reported. I think that it's evil tho.

There is so much that technology can do to improve society. However, it's always the politics that screw things up. The incumbent powers are unwilling to give up their power for the benefit of everyone. Well, that's perfectly understandable.

koln_auhc said...

Oops, so outdated of me.

Everyone wants power, whether it is the good or evil. No one likes to relinquish power to other too.

Oh, and evil prevails.

flygoon said...

Actually, UMNO might have committed the biggest blunder of all times in Malaysia politics. Apparently, in the Prime Minister Office blog, (yes, our Prime Minister Blog) there is a seditious article posted since Oct. 2005. They have deleted the article this morning but it could still be read via google cache.

To access the article, go to google, search for "Ng Seng Cina" without the quotes and click cached.

Shawn Tan said...

haha! our PM falling into his own trap! makes for a funny story.. i doubt that he'll be hauled in by the police.. whichever officer was in charge of moderating the comments should be sweating a lot now..