12 May, 2008

In Malaysia, the ruling party has tried fighting anti-government bloggers by encouraging parliamentarians to join the blogosphere themselves.

In China around 50,000 “technicians” are employed in censoring all online content and dissident bloggers are regularly harassed, bullied and even thrown in jail because of their subversive online activities.

In Malaysia, on the other hand, the ruling party has tried fighting anti-government bloggers by encouraging parliamentarians to join the blogosphere themselves.

By engaging bloggers, rather than imprisoning them, Malaysia’s ruling parties have shown that freedom of the internet and the political discourse that takes place online can enhance and strengthen democracy and the public’s respect for its elected officials. The recent arrest of a prominent blogger in Malaysia on sedition charges is a mistake, and represents a reverse in an otherwise progressive and enlightened policy towards political and social liberty in Malaysia.

- Jason Welker


Jason Welker is a teacher at Shanghai American School, where in addition to Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Economics he teaches Asian History.Jason maintains a wiki and a blog for his AP and IB Econ student called Welker’s Wikinomics


Asia Sentinel:"Malaysia Ponders How to Handle its Bloggers"

The actions appear to reflect a growing realization that the Internet is playing a far larger role as an independent news source in spreading dissent than the government originally anticipated. Top officials of the Barisan Nasional once scoffed at the power of the new medium but that changed after the ruling coalition of ethnic political parties lost the two-thirds parliamentary majority it has held since independence in 1957. The government has been leaving its hands off the Internet, largely because of a desire to turn Malaysia into a high-tech investment hub. But surveys have shown that more people are turning to the Internet for news and that online media is perceived as more credible than traditional media; the first of the Malaysian news sites, Malaysiakini.com, has won a worldwide reputation since it was launched on a shoestring nearly a decade ago.....More here

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