July 29, 2007

The Concept of Blogging

Posted in Malaysia at 2:13 am by egalitaria

In Nathaniel Tan’s statement after being released by the cops, (he was remanded for 4 days) he said that the internet policing officers themselves know and understand little of what a blog is all about. So much so that he had to explain how the blog operates, how comments are left on the site, etcetera.

In any case, I find it absolutely silly for bloggers to be held accountable for the comments that are left on their blog. Firstly, the concept of blogging itself means that there should be open discourse between blog owner and the public reader. Often the commenter does NOT agree with the blogger. Hence he writes something to draw out the discussion. To create debate, and there is space to do that online. It is ridiculous for the blogger to be held responsible for the statement/comment that he/she actually does not agree with in the first place! If you don’t want that, you “close” your comments, disallowing any discussion. The fact that comments are closed runs counter to the spirit of a blog – unless that is the intention of the blogger himself.

Secondly, comments left can be anonymous. So nobody can actually trace the comment that is left behind (unless you are an IT wiz and can search IP’s which I do not apologise for not being able to do).

Thirdly, there is a real possibility that someone else out there wanting to destroy your credibility and land you in jail, would post something seditious (being critical of Islam and the King, for example, which I would shudder to think of). This means that whoever in cyber-space who dislikes me just has to leave a comment on this post, for example (I really hope you don’t, please!).

Fourth, where do you draw the line? If, for example, I am a Malaysian living abroad say in Australia, who owns a blog and whose comment box happens to attract sarcastic statements? Will I be hauled up and called to Malaysian police stations? What about leaving such statements on other international sites like Facebook, the current hot favourite for social networking?  

The question on everyone’s mind now is exactly who is going to be called up next for “irresponsible blogging”, and for seditious/libel remarks against the Government/someone close to the top/anything really that irks someone who can pull strings.

Oh the earnest anticipation!

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1 Comment

  1. Bob K said,

    I am wondering if perhaps a test case is needed. There is a wider debate as to whether or not bloggers are liable for the comments others place on their blogs that is being overlooked here, perhaps justifiably, due to the political dimensions and elements of state intimidation in the recent cases.

    I was looking at the section of the law that Raja Petra is being investigated under, ie. Section 112 of the Penal Code. It doesn’t need a major stretch of the imagination to see how he could possibly be made liable (Sect 112 covers abetment of an offence of the Penal Code).


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