Friday, June 14, 2013

Blogging Malaysia: To mask or unmask?

Blog, portal owners must reveal identities: Najib

New Straits TimesThursday, Jun 13, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will not emulate Singapore's move requiring blogs and news portals to be licensed, but will instead opt for self-regulatory measures that make it necessary for blog and website owners to reveal their identities, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
He said in handling the challenges of a mature nation, the government would ensure social media practitioners are more responsible in disseminating information.
BEFORE he was Zorro Unmasked, ex-teacher Bernard Khoo was a fiery commenter on many blogs who went by the moniker Zorro. When Jeff Ooi and I made our mark in Jan 2006 as the first bloggers in the whole wide world to be sued by a newspaper, Bernard started his own blog. Back then, to reveal oneself as the operator of a blog critical of the government was a foolhardy thing to do. I was there when Zorro was deciding whether he should stop hiding behind anonymity. After a few beers, Zorro became Zorro Unmasked and today he's still a fiery anti-BN (or pro-Pakatan - sometimes it is hard to tell) voice, and since then many anonymous bloggers have done the same. Big Dog, Sheih Kickdefella and OutSyed The Box were also ex-Anons.  For some, it was inevitable. The alleged real ID of A Voice, for example, was exposed by a fellow blogger (a former BN Adun who is today the only DAP Melayu MP) during a heated cyber exchange. 

Many more have kept their masks on. Some felt it was the safer thing to do given the blog-unfriendly BN government that we had back then; some had very good reasons to remain anons. They were wise. Big Dog, Syed, Kickdefella and A Voice were all "brought in" one time or the other by the MCMC, the police, or the courts.  

Thanks to Allah, the BN government now is a lot friendlier to blogs and cyberspace. That's mainly because PM Najib Razak is a believer in the Internet. During the Abdullah Administration, Najib was the only BN leader who openly engaged with some of us. It came as no surprise that when he succeeded Dollah, the entire BN government transformed itself in haste into a web of FBs, twitter, blogs, etc. So much so that during the PRU13, Umno even had a war room just to manage the social media. And immediately after the election, with the series of exposes about the overrated Red Bean Army of the Pakatan Rakyat, a decision was made by the party leadership to create a stand-alone department to plan an Internet campaign from now until the next general election in four or five years time.

Given these developments, I find the suggestion by the PM to compel social media practitioners and bloggers to reveal their real ID as out of sync. Especially when the suggestion was made as soon as he'd said Malaysia won't try to emulate Singapore's licensing framework for news portals, a decision hailed even by A Kadir Jasin. In my experience, it is not easy at all to make an impact in cyberspace as an Anon. Unless you have a reputation as an Anon that churns nothing else but porn clips involving politicians. In which case you will have traffic but not authority nor credibility.

My suggestion as told to several journalists who called me for my views yesterday is this: keep the pressure to disseminate news responsibly on:

1. the mainstream media, eg NST, RTM, Media Prima, Astro, the Star, Sin Chew, Tamil Nesan, etc and 
2. the news portals, e.g. Malaysiakini, the dying Malaysian Insider, Malaysia Today, Sabahkini, Mole, all MSM portals, Malaysian Digest, etc.

It is very simple. We bloggers, facebookers, tweeps and what-nots get our news from either 1 or 2, or both. If they get it right, the people at the end of this food chain will most probably NOT get it wrong. If there's s scandal involving the government and Bernama or the Sun tried to cover up, that's irresponsible. If the same scandal is amplified x100 by Malaysian Chronicle or Sarawak Report, that's equally irresponsible.

Back to basics. Set up a Media Council so that the industry can self-regulate. Of course, easier said than done.


  1. Anonymous1:56 pm

    There's one blogger who has never revealed his identity- Pirates of PutraJaya. He popped up before elections but has now disappeared.
    Anybody knows who he was? So many people are so curious to know.
    Papagomo in court refused to acknowledge his identity.

  2. Anonymous2:15 pm

    Stephen Doss love to appear and disappear whenever his blog get debunked or exposed.

    His signature is so easy to identify. He needs acting lesson.

  3. Mustapha Ong5:40 pm

    I beg to disagree that bloggers should remain masked and concealed his/her identity which may impact our readers, either positively or negatively. It is not only irresponsible to hide oneself under the sarong but also unethical to hit others below the belt so to say in the cyberspace. I am against those who blogged with extreme criticism and four letter words, irritate others and yet when asked to reveal their identities become more abusive! Is this acceptable to our Asian values minus the yellow culture?

    If you want to be part of the social media players, then I think it's only fair that you should apply constrain and self censorship with respect to others in the cyberspace. Although we have dotted our 10 points Bill of Guarantee, the government had been cautious and lenient to apply the censorship laws in Malaysia. This is freedom of expression in Malaysia which is more media friendly than most other countries including Singapore, and Indonesia.

  4. Anonymous6:21 pm

    Najib is a fuckhead of a small time Charlie. Time again he shoots his own cock and arse even though repeatedly warned of the consequences. His cocksuckling of Chingkies even when publicly fucked during the Psy thingy is nothing short of shameless as are his kowtowing to his cockless and clueless advisers and psychopants.. He can't even tell his kid brother to stop his cunttalk, shut the fuck up and fuck off, what more his bouffant haired buffon. Some Prime Masturbator we are stuck with.

    Anwhore is a thick skulled shithead whose leftover life would be better spent licking arses in the prison. This idiot is also another Ching cocksuckling son of a bitch. Better at arselicking and arsewhoring than managing the country.

    The only one capable of managing Malaysia is Tun Dr M. Unfortunately, the fucked up party apparatchiks won't allow for that.

    Net outcome of above scenarios = Malaysia is screwed.

    Warrior 231

  5. Anonymous6:32 pm

    Talking about bloggers in general...papagomo sells sex and parpukari the master of kopipes - ok, not exactly copy & paste. Almost. The links to others' stories usually come after a line or two of maki hamun. Beats me how they are ranked high in the pro-government top bloggers chart. Hopefully, it doesn't reflect umno members' mentality in general.

  6. Anonymous6:42 pm

    The gagging begins. First the bloggers, next, even to comment must provide IC no. Wait and see. Last bastion of free speech choked to death.

  7. Anonymous9:00 pm

    Umno going into social media alone without MCA aNd rest of component doomed to fail.

  8. Anonymous9:25 am

    Yeaaa Let's See Who THE REAL PAPAGOMO is!

  9. pacrim3:36 pm

    Hey, the Warrior forgot to mention the ongoing TPP negotiations. Either way the country is screwed - damned if you don't join the TPP and damned if you do.

    Even the illustrious Dr M didn't have the brass to tell off Uncle Sam.

    So now, with Ben B talking about "tapering off" QE, the ringgit and the stock market gets hammered.

    Which only goes to show that Malaysia doesn't control it's own economic destiny and that it's the big boys who call the shots.

    Now, that's what's meant by being "powerless".

    No wonder Utusan, Zam, Perkasa and the coterie who inhabit the sidelines of rabid rightwing-ism are running scared.

    Because they can only bully the small fry and the little people.

    But when Ben B opines, they all head for the hills.

    Speaking of which, I'd like to see Zeti taking on Ben B in a debate about QE and related matters.

    She should, shouldn't she, instead of saying that everything is peachy?

  10. I just got the news. Zorro a.k.a. Bernard Khoo has passed away.