Home Ministry's battle with youtube and facebook users

After reading this report from the Sun below,


I do not understand just exactly what the Home Ministry is trying to address. Is it a piece of faulty reporting or the Ministry’s own ambiguity? I do not see why the Ministry seek to renegade against Mahathir’s pledge that Internet will not be subject to interference in Malaysia.

The key sentences are as follows:

# Mahmood said the amendments were not meant to tighten control over the press but to address loopholes in the law and make it more inclusive.

- this gentleman says that there is no intention to tighten control over the press, but does expanding the coverage of a regulation not result in tighter control? If there is no concrete end result/purpose, why waste money, time and energy?

# "It is not about having stricter guidelines. But there is a loophole at the moment, and some things do not fall into any category."

- now closing a loophole means tightening control, what else could it mean?

- It is quiet clear that the ministry via the gentleman is contradicting himself

# "We monitor what is in YouTube and discuss it. We won’t be able to control it, but we have to see how to go about it."

- This gentleman has disclosed his intention – after talking about what he has watched in Youtube, he has admitted that while he badly wants to curb it, but according to Mahathir’s pledge to the world, there is no existing laws in Malaysia to impose censorship Internet ala press suppression 20th century style, he and his team are cracking their heads trying to impose a 20th century philosophy onto an unstoppable 21st century trend.

- reading between the line, this civil servant's statement seems to indicate that the solution in the pipeline is not to censor the Internet but "go about" on the people airing their opinion in cyberspace.

- given the manner in which printing press act has been implemented in Malaysia for decades, I am not 100% confident that the application of any expanded legislation would seem to be fair to both side of the political divide.

# He said although the existing guidelines were only a year old, they had to be modified to ensure they suited the 1Malaysia concept of giving priority to the people’s interest.

- Another irritating, general and incomprehensible string of words so typical of the successive administrators as attaching a well used slogan does not add credibility to a statement of opinion. The attached clarity and apparent logic would prove the weigth, not another round of the over-used rallying call.

- I do not see how slapping gags on communication via Youtube and Facebook can priortise people’s interest under some political sales pitch.

The Singapore diplomats have confirmed that many Malaysians have concluded for a long time anyway – we do not have many competent people running the country.

After reading the article a few times over, I struggle to convince myself not to conclude that:

# This is prove that the existing administration have lost the cyberspace warfare in convincing and winning over public opinion of savvy and thinking internet users

# The partisan administrators hope to replicate the outdated modus operandi of airing one sided arguments in cyberspace

# But the 21st century solution is not to impose censorship or intimidate, but to show actual performance in real world and defeat its detractors in open and sensible debate

# If the gentleman thinks clamping down on facebook exchange is necessary, then they are guilty of voyeurism, intrusion and for consistency sake, they should eavesdrop into all conversations in coffee shops, mamak stalls, taxies and other places where thinking people are articulating, evaluating, criticizing and debating the performance, integrity and achievement (or lack of) of elected people’s representatives and tax payers funded machinery.



Published: Saturday August 8, 2009 MYT 9:39:00 PM
Internet should not be censored, says Tun Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Saturday the Internet should not be censored in any way, and it was wrong to do so although some things needed to be disciplined.

"For example, there is too much violence coming through on the Internet.

“That, I think, we have a right to ban but as far as political thinking, if you are not instigating violence and things like that, I think the Internet should not be censored in any way," he said.

He was speaking to reporters after delivering his speech at the Third Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit here.

He said that during his time of administration, he had given the undertaking that the government would not censor the Internet when it started the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) years ago.

"So maybe that was an undertaking given by me during my time. I don't know whether that will commit the present government," he added.

On Friday, Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the government was looking to put up Internet filter to stop access to undesirable websites. However, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the government had no intention of monitoring and censoring the Internet contents as the move would not only be ineffective but would also cause public dissatisfaction. - Bernama

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