When Promises Turn Sour….Censorship goes on overdrive!

Posted: August 30, 2008 in Freedom of Expression

What now? We have finally come to the point where our worst fears have come true. We all expected a full blown effort by the government to censor the Internet in a more hostile way; it was only a matter of time. Of course, the initial stages saw the government pushing for a different angle through intimidation and fear techniques beginning as early as 2004 with Jeff Ooi’s case and continued to drag on through the year’s up till now. The climate of censorship changed from intimidation and fear to more hostile tactics but nothing amounted to direct censorship.

They were perhaps toying with the idea of directly censoring the Internet but it would create too much of a hype not only among locals but in the international scene. The blogosphere experienced many threats not only to their online repo’s but offline too, some even received dead threats. Still people fought on. The government pursued slowly but steadily devising ways of slowly influencing people that the net infact was a bad thing. They definitely tried (as you can see with cases such as Jeff, RPK,Rocky etc) But sadly the impact they desired did not occur so now I believe the time has come for them to use coercion. We of course had signs that this was coming…although it was an individual nature of suit; RPK losing the case and being told to pay a substantial amount not too long ago was definitely the beginning of something much bigger in the blogosphere.

Yes many were charged under various laws, but no definite action was taken. Now, we have the direct blocking of Malaysia Today. It was long time overdue (I thought it would be sooner) but the government weathered many storms by the fiery, explosive RPK. But as I commented below in a much earlier posting, a year back the Bill has always be dubious to me;

Despite the great promise of freedom of expression through the Bluff that be- Bill of Guarantees it obviously does not guarantee anything but allows those in political power and having economic interest to play the role of Boss for all in a continued never ending road of doom. But that despite it all, the ‘rakyat of the blogosphere’ have fought hard to fight for their rights and have bounced back each time since Jeff Ooi first encounter with the powers that be. The sense of solidarity that has erupted as an outcome of the clampdown of bloggers have inclinations of providing a public sphere for people to gather and have rational debate despite the restrictions that continue to stifle the existing freedom.

Nothing much has changed since that besides the current government action that has hit overdrive! Will investor fled as the government promise has gone sour???? Some bloggers notely the President of ALL-BLOGS has already commented on this unethical move by the MCMC;
“I don’t see MCMC as an independent body. Especially when they are acting in the interest of the government.”The people’s trust of MCMC, an independent body(so we thought!) has whitered like many other institutions in Malaysia……Michelle Gunaselan comments on the ban and impact on people’s trust;

“It makes the ban seems suspicious, and it makes Malaysians more and more distrustful of those in power,” said Gunaselan.

Will the government take it one step further and shut down SOPO bloggers?
Jeff Ooi, blogger/politician comments on that possible move;
However, if MCMC decided to take this banning trend to another level (banning political blogs), I can claim immunity as a parliamentarian and I will speak up for other bloggers,” said the DAP MP for Jelutong.

Will we have to actually anticipate such a situation? Unfortunately it is very likely that the next thing to get the backlash of the government will definitely be SOPO blogs!

Dark clouds are hovering over the blogosphere…over freedom of expression what’s our next step will we fight through this storm or will we wait it out? Will it become just another way of life for us, “that’s just how it is” ….or will there truly be an uprising of civil society is left to be seen…

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  1. Simonn says:

    This is something really good in this package,

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