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Blogging 101: Blogging and Responsibility

responsibility governance blogging

(This picture, although may offend some, is running through my mind when words like “government”, “responsibility”, “legal suit” and “law” hit the front pages. Picture source: Pinterest)

Now isn’t this looks funny and downright ridiculous?

By now, the government and the mainstream media seem to be high in painting all bloggers as the “real menace” to society. So much that, my colleague at the office was quick to point out the “threat” by Pak Lah in the newspapers and asked me whether I am going to continue blogging.

As such, you can’t blame the bloggers to start thinking that the government is out to curtail the freedom of speech and trying to hide the truth. It seems too obvious. Pak Lah said:-

Bloggers must be responsible for what they write on the Internet as there are laws on defamation and sedition, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

The Prime Minister said these laws were enforceable and bloggers must bear in mind that they could not hide or take advantage of the Internet to do something that was against the law.

Mighty words indeed and it is fine by me – bloggers who spread lies, hatred (hatred against corrupt politicians or draconian laws, however, is not counted) and racial remarks should face the music. Most bloggers are responsible with what they say or post online but are the government or the people who are suing the bloggers being responsible as well?

If lies were posted by bloggers, I agree that such bloggers are to be reprimanded. What about those who post their opinions or making a strong stand? Where does the government draw the line in respect of “responsibility”?

NST posted something on Mahathir meeting up with Badawi in Japan which in the end, turned out to be false. No apologies were posted by NST and NST even stand by the earlier story. Do we call this as being responsible? What about those who post things that the government is feverishly trying to hide or avoid (such as the toll issue or the story behind the RM600 million to UMNO heads)? How the government is going to be responsible for such cases?

The truth is they are not going to be responsible for anything and at any time. So, probably it is a waste of time to be even talking about it. So what does responsible blogging amounts to? For start, google the words “responsible blogging” and another visits the Reporters without Borders website for some useful ideas (and the handbook for bloggers).

And for Pak Lah, the guy who is heading the government which was responsible for the increase of fuel price, an increase of toll (and then asked the road users to f-off), closed one eye against corrupt politicians & twisted stories in the mainstream media…the word “responsible” is indeed one BIG word. One needs to embrace it first before can have any rights to be telling others. But coming from a politician, you know that words like integrity, responsibility, truthfulness, humble and honesty are just words to be used against others and not against themselves.

If the government was indeed responsible, where is then the disclosure of the contract terms between the government and the IPPs, between the government and SYABAS and between the government and the toll concessionaires? In case the government has forgotten, the people are the shareholders and have the right to know the terms that affecting their daily life. The Oppositions managed to uncover the LDP toll contract and broadcast it to the world; all the government was fast to do was to threaten them with breach of OSA. Responsibility, in case some politicians have forgotten, does not mean only showing up just before pre-election but rather to be consistently upheld thereafter.

Even if we take Pak Lah’s words on “responsibility” and the laws on defamation & sedition, the next question that begged to be answered is whether the government has been fair in the issue of defamation and sedition? Did they curtail politicians who make racial and seditious statements? Remember the highly seditious statements made by some members in the last UMNO General Assembly. What happened to them? Were they charged with sedition and hauled to the courts? It looks like actions were fizzled out after a while and this is not the first time it happened. Are there double standards now for bloggers and well-connected politicians?

The threat may be real (after all we are talking about Malaysia here) but if we bloggers are standing up for something that is right and honest, then threat against responsible bloggers is only one cheap way to shove the truth under the carpet. The government should start to act responsibly as well before they have any locus to advise others.

It is akin to a hardcore liquor drinker advising people on the danger of alcohol – statements that hardly holds water, no matter how hard the drinker dance.

Read also Caffeinbar and Tellusomething – bloggers who are thinking aloud on the same issue. Aisehman wrote about this issue some time ago but from a different angle.

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