Tomorrow, 3rd May 2008, is the World Press Freedom Day.
President Harry Truman, the president who made the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, once said:
You can never get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgements about what is going on.
This is the words of a great Statesman. He, through the implementation of the Marshall Plan, helped to rebuild Western Europe after the Second World War.
We cannot rely just on one source for opinion and news. Press freedom serves as a feedback to the governing party, to the civil servants , and helps to shape opinion and thinking.
For the past many years, Malaysia has not had a good rating on press freedom and the rating has been dropping. In 2006, World Press Freedom Index rated us as NO. 92, and last year NO. 124. (pls read this past article of mine: World Press Freedom Index 2007. ) Without a free press, some BN leaders have been misled by the spin stories published in our main stream media, and this has made them complacent and arrogant. They are caught by their own spins and lies.
Because of this, blogs fill the vacuum in Malaysia. You can get a lot of info from reading many blogs daily. Now, Malaysiakini reported that Dr Mahathir has become a blogger too.
But blog is only a medium. I have said before, do not blog just for the sake of blogging. If you blog just because it is fashionable to blog, and there is no substance at all, or worse still, all full of lies and bulls**t, then it is better not to blog. (I refer to social political blogs,)
Blog with a clear intention, with a clear consciense. A tool is only as good as the person using it. Some would be bloggers asked me, what is there to blog everyday? This is the advice I gave them: blog from your heart,blog what you believe. If you do that, you will find that there is so much to talk about, there is so much to write , time is the limiting factor.
Blogs have certain advantages over the mainstream printed media. It is fast and up to the minute. The minute you publish, others will be able to read. Blogs also attract comments from which different views on a single subjects can be obtained. Blogs also widen your network and you become friends with other blogers and even some of the commentators.
Many bloggers censor comments and publish only the ones they wish the readers read. That, in my view, is also a way of spinning and slanting. I normally publish all comments, and have so far deleted only a few that attacks religions and races and with foul languages. Even those attacking me personally will be published, because I believe in a free press. By doing so, you get to expose to different views from different places, and that is what printed media cannot do.
Printed media still have huge influence and very important role to play. My wish on this coming World Press Freedom day is that the government can do away with some of the restriction governing the press, allow more press freedom and allow more comments and views from both sides of the fence.