Journo-Blogger Relationship- Part 1 Digital Democracy Forum

Posted: October 9, 2007 in Blogging and Democracy, Freedom of Expression, Latest Post on Malaysian Blogosphere, Malaysia, Malaysian Blogosphere, Society

As most of my readers already know, I recently attended the Forum on Blogs and Digital Democracy in Kuala Lumpur recently at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club( KLGCC). Upon reaching Pudu, a friend picked me up from the bus station, we had a drink and then I was off to the forum. I reached rather early I guess, people will still coming in slowly. The buka puasa session had just began as I walked into the room. Was warmly greeted by Tony, Anu and who can forget sweet Bernard. Haris was no where to be seen, I was rather disappointed as I was looking forward to seeing him. Anyway, I was allocated a place at one of the tables located at the far right of the hall with Howsy, Rikey and some others I did not know. Later on I realize some of them who were siting at my table were journalist from Malaysiakini, if I’m not mistaken Zan Azlee was also at my table.

The event started soon after…. What was visible on the screen of the LCD was “Participatory Media, Participatory Democracy’ such phrases gave me flash backs of my times at uni with all those phrases being often mentioned in the course of my studies. The forum was moderated by Jeff, among the speakers invited to grace the event was;

1. David Sasaki, Head of Global Voices Outreach ( Rising Voices ) — an off-shoot project of a project initiated at Berkman

Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School

2. A.Kadir Jasin of <“The Scribe A.Kadir Jasin”>

3. Ahiruddin Attan of <“Rockybru”>

Among those who attended the event were representatives from NGOs, alternative media, legal professionals, journalist, researcher(probably I was the only one~)… Those whom I spotted at the event were Howsy, Rikey, Zorro-Unmasked, Galdariel, Tony Pua, Tony Yew, Nat Tan, Li Tsin, Walski69, SK, Nuraina Samad and TV Smith.

The function of All-Blog was briefly explained;

1. Engage + Embrace those ignorant

2. Protect bloggers- through linking of legal help-lawyers

Although not much was explained further I think I get the drift of what All-Blogs is all about but I guess it goes further. They also serve to teach bloggers and non-blogger what it is to blog, how to blog responsibly, importance of blogging for democracy, its link to unity etc

A brief explanation was given on what Global Voices Online (GVO) entailed… From the gist of what was said, I gather that it is basically “citizen journalism” virtually. Jeff also mentioned some activities of bloggers in the region of Asia namely in Cambodia( ISP served as main sponsors for a blogger event- How cool is that?) and Indonesia(Pesta Blogger is to be held and their sponsors are Microsof/Nokia- event to be officiated by the ICT Minister-fancy that happening in Malaysia eh???)

Jeff introduced the panel of speakers and then gave the honor of breaking the ice to Rocky to relate his experience on the issue on his part. I assumed that he would go into detail about the case but I presume that he isn’t able to as the case isn’t over yet thus it find bind him legally from commenting on the case. But instead of relating his experience in that sense, he gave the audience something even better! He related to the audiences his entry point into blogging, what made him a journo-blogger!


Started off in the field of journalism in 1984 as an Intern in Business Times

– Started blogging in 2006

– Irony of being sued as a blogger by journalist( as Rocky was formerly an editor with a local daily)

Rocky related how he entered into the world of blogging. Relating his first experience as hear-say from fellow journalist whom informed him that a blog(Screenshots@Jeff Ooi-how ironic eh they are good buddies now!) was insulting/commenting on Malay Mail and later attacking him personally in an entry on Rocky in 2003 soon after.Rocky then the editor of Malay Mail explained how he felt intense pressure as he could not catch up as he could only respond weekly in his Sunday Times Column, while Jeff was having a field day each day! He felt as though he could not engage with bloggers as they were in real time! Getting mixed reactions with some advising him to ignore, retaliate by suing etc he decided to take it a step further! He started to blog….and from then on there was no looking back.

One very important aspect that Rocky spoke on was about the relationship that lies between bloggers and journalist. He related on how it was so important for this two roles to have peace. He said fear did not lie only within bloggers but with journalist too. All-Blogs could possible bridge the gap that existed between this two, whom had so much similarities rather than differences yet we often looked at the relationship very pessimistically. SoPo blogger often picked on mainstream media thus affecting the ego of the journalist too I presume but what we fail to realize sometimes that it all boils down to what the 4th Floor people say thus at the end of the day its not the journalist that bloggers are against or unhappy about its the way news is presented by those way up there! It was essential for us bloggers to work with journalist towards a bigger course, towards digital democracy as Jeff earlier said we have chosen the digital channel to express that!

After Rocky and Jeff were sued in early Jan(the NSTP court case continues till today) the idea of All-Blogs soon came to shape! Around more than 60 bloggers got together to form this national alliance of bloggers. Since the idea materialized in April 2007, there has been no turning back with on-going activities from the Bangsa Malaysia-Do, Multi-Faith Doa, Buka Puasa Meeting Iniative with PELITAR+ Citizen Think Tank+ All Blogs and most recent this spectacular forum! I believe more is to come from this pro-active organization, personally I’m glad it hasn’t remain static!

Rocky even related his attempt at invited dear old Zam our Information Minister to the event, sadly he declined as he is busy with some other engagement and said that he would try to make it for future events-let’s hold him to it shall we?. Busy or made busy I have no idea. But oh well, as Rocky brilliantly stated;

” We are moving fast with or without our Information Minister” – Rocky

Part 2 on David Sasaki and A.Kadir Jasin’s Take on Digital Democracy...…to be continued 

  1. Testttyq says:



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