Sunday, May 06, 2007

My fellow Journalists, please blog!

Short-cut to Press freedom. In my interview with Malaysiakini* yesterday, I made a call to my fellow journalists to start blogging. I said the media in this country will become freer if journalists blog. Their blogs will not only be their personal journals but will have the power to ensure that their newspapers and televisions do not suppress, spin or censor news. Their blogs will create effective media watchdogs within the media itself, which will augur well for Press freedom.

I said The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) president's call that the government start recognizing the New media (blogs and on-line media) is a good start. What the courageous Norila Md Daud can do now as a follow-up to the call she made on World Press Freedom Day is to start encouraging her members to start blogging.

She can count on the National Alliance of Bloggers to help; it is the All Blogs' raisons d'etre to promote blogging and protect bloggers. And we can always ask Zam, later, if he thinks journo-bloggers should be categorised as professional or non-professional bloggers.

& drop by Central Mart today
*Malaysiakini interviewed Jeff Ooi and I in conjunction with the launch of the WPFD celebrations the on-line news portal company is organising jointly with the Centre of Independent Journalists. You can still catch the second and final day of the event, which also features freedom art works by adults and children, today (Sunday, 6 May 2007) at the Central Market, KL.


  1. Way to go, Rocky and Jeff!

    Read in Malaysiakini's highlights that Zam proposes categories for bloggers such as "professionals" and "non professionals".

    If carried out, does that mean that journalist who blogs are called "professionals" and the rest "non professionals"?

    How to define them?

    Are their liabilities different?

    We are entering into uncharted territories here.

  2. Rocky,

    this is a tall order given that most editors are not too happy when they find out that so-and-so and X and Y blog.
    at the moment, several young journalists are blogging - about their life, love, hobbies, their passion and so forth. they are doing so anonymously although one in particular is semi-anonymous. as a senior editor of NST before I quit in March 2006, i found out that one of our reporters quit blogging becos one of my colleagues told her to stop becos our immediate superior was not happy about her blogging. i am not too sure if she was blogging anonymously because i found this out only after the event, so to speak. it seemed she was blogging about her work, the office and named names, if you know what i mean. ok ok... i was told that there wre times she was bitching about her bosses.

    now., ok, that's a little different than what we're talking about.

    i would like to see a mindset change here. but can u imagine certain er, er people, ummm, like, er er....oh, you know, supporting this view?
    you have to have very confident, secure, credible editors to allow their reporters to blog.
    i am sure there are among my former colleagues who are.
    But at the NST, it is not their call.

  3. Anonymous8:46 am

    Hi there! Just wondering - how will journalists marry their professional allegiance/duty to their employer newspaper with all of its professed leanings, mission and objectives i.e selective reporting and censorship, while at the same time profess their independence with all of its (self) professed freedom of expression!

    When and why is it necessary for journalists to blog at the same time? In other words in what particular circumstances would a journalist feel he has to add to/negate/clarify what he has written for his newspaper?

    The complexity of the situation confounds poor naive me! But then I'm no journalist!

  4. Anonymous10:29 am

    Yes Nuraina I agree - in some circumstances blogging is no different from bitching!

    Then Rocky - will you define blog journalism or journalists' blogging along the continuum of HORSES'SHIT...FANTASY...FICTION... LIES...RUMOUR...JUST BITCHING... HYPOTHESIS... LOGICAL DEDUCTION...PLAIN ARGUMENT..ARGUMENTATION...LEGAL TECHNICALITY...FACT ...HORSES' MOUTHS etc etc etc, each with its own legally binding citizen responsibilities?

    Or will you categorically state - no bitching, no hitting below the belt, digging out of only your own skeletons in the cupboard? Or that all comments will be referenced or refereed?

    Yes tall order indeed!

  5. Bro Rocky,

    The so called latest tokoh Wartawan with his crazy idea again. Hi..hi..hi..hi


  6. Anonymous11:40 am

    Journalists should blog. they write well, so they should tell the stories in their own way, in their won words.

    Of course they will have their own opinion in interpreting the event and telling the story, but that's what blogging is all about.

    Blog is a tool where a physical natural person translated his or her thoughts in their own way and style and captured forever in the ever growing and infinite cyberworld. Soon, technology will induce more abstract ways of bloggers interpreting their stories.

    By all means, blogs are not to be used to spread LIES and people abuse it by making up facts and defame and insult others, especially Rulers and Leaders, like in the case of Monsterball in Susan Loone's blog thread "Ijok: Dr Mahathir gave Pak Lah a slap" where Monsterball claimed on 27.04.2007 @ 11am that HRH Sultan of Johor slapped Dr. Mahathir when he was the SPB YDP Agong.

  7. Anonymous12:00 pm

    for a great example of a journalist blogging responsibly, don't forget politikus!! :)

  8. Will the 'real' journalist from the NST and The Star who intends to start blogging, please stand up.
    Rocky, I am sure many will remain seated.
    Not because they don't want to, but because they just can't.
    Preserving their rice bowls will take priority over expressing their 'independence of thoughts' in blogs.
    Malaysian journalists are expected to be beholden to their political masters.
    All it takes is for Zam to call up the editor and request him to remove that 'professional blogger' from the paper's payroll.
    This man is jumping like a cat on a hot tin roof and he will do anything.
    Even a columnist can be removed for representing a client. Ask Malik Imtiaz.

  9. Hi Rockybru:

    It's a valid challenge to MSM journalists to take to Blogging; these two Estates (4th and 5th) should not be mutually exclusive as they can complement (maybe supplement?) each other with common objectives like information dissemination and rational discourse.

    Here I'm using thy platform to urge your readers: surf to to accept an INVITE to attend a Bloggers Gathering on May 19; this host RockyBru is a Special Speaker who will share with us what All Blogs is about; also other speakers with long experience and expertise like JeffOOi. Chow, which means "See you dare" or "Eat the food-lah including Roast lamb!".:)

  10. Nome de plume is the way to go, I say.

    Great writers have, in the past, done it just to gauge their own writings with others when having literary debates.

    Now, for not so great writers, what better way to 'hide' your ineptness.

    Seriously, journalists, as representatives of the fourth estate in a democratic country, have a solemn duty to report the news as truthfully as possible.

    Taking care of one's rice bowl is the often said reason for 'holding back'. Come on, guyz, we're approaching our 50th anniversary of independence and are we still allowing politicians to run the country and drive our minds too. We put them there, remember.

    It's time to undo the damage and it will be great if both dedicated mainstream journalists as well as bloggers of substance join hands for this effort.

    In the realm of public opinion, politicians are not the only bearers of the 'truth'. Once we free the truth, we free the press or is it the other way round.

    Anyway bloggers can't wait. It's your call, dear MSM journalists.

  11. Anonymous3:17 pm

    There are many journos who blog..not of hobbies and love lives, but real time news.

    There are a whole lot of 'indie' bloggers out there voicing the grouses of the average joes and janes instead of the 'high profilic' blogs which only centres around politics (or what is said to be politics) due to personal sentiments.

    There's always two side to a coin.

  12. Anonymous4:47 pm

    Asking our journos to blog? You must be joking. You think their masters will allow them. No way. Anyway a majority of our journos have no guts, scared. they are only good at pandering to the whims of the Press masters. In short, our pressmen have no guts. In short, our journos are cowards.

  13. Anonymous10:28 pm

    Utopian concept, i must say under the current scheme of things in Malaysian journalism.

    I blogged about this too and can't help but agree with the reservations of old female fart and Nuraina Samad about the inherent problems.

    Still, if they have the guts to do it, the Malaysian media will be the richer for it.

    Nom de plume it is too Shar! Works best that way. Sniping doesn't just come from the blog trenches.

  14. Anonymous10:28 pm

    Utopian concept, i must say under the current scheme of things in Malaysian journalism.

    I blogged about this too and can't help but agree with the reservations of old female fart and Nuraina Samad about the inherent problems.

    Still, if they have the guts to do it, the Malaysian media will be the richer for it.

    Nom de plume it is too Shar! Works best that way. Sniping doesn't just come from the blog trenches.

  15. What is Zam talking about non-professional and professional bloggers. You dont have to be a certified professional journalist who dots their i and cross their t at the bidding of the boss. JUST BE PROFESSIONAL, BEHAVE LIKE A PROFESSIONAL, THINK LIKE A PROFESSIONAL BEFORE YOU HIT THE KEYBOARD. BEING PROFESSIONal IS EITHER IN YOU ARE NOT IN YOU. You dont need to be certified for that. It comes from upbringing and the people you mix with.

  16. Anonymous10:00 pm

    hi, old female fart: You asked why 'it would be necessary for a journalist to blog, and in what circumstances he would feel he had to add to/negate/clarify what he'd written for his newspaper'. Firstly, in NO circumstances should a journalist negate or have to clarify (in his blog) what he wrote in his paper, because that would mean that what he wrote (in his paper) was either an untruth, incorrect, inaccurate or unclear, which is totally unprofessional. If he needs to negate or clarify anything, do so in the paper.
    Secondly, why do I blog? Because all day I write about other people, so after work I write about myself and how I feel about certain things, simple as that. But I do so anonymously because I can't be sure if my bosses will be too pleased about it because when I blog, I ADD my own opinions, which sometimes differ with that of my publication.
    Therefore....I would only blog openly if I was totally sure I wouldn't lose my job. So while journalists who choose to blog openly have to be professional, it's also absolutely right what Nuraina said: you have to have very confident, secure, credible editors to allow their reporters to blog.