World Press Freedom day, blogs and my wish

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.

 

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Peter Yew
    May 02, 2008 @ 16:07:33

    Dr Hsu,

    Information and truth are supposedly the hallmarks of good journalism, and good blogging. Of course a blog also expresses personal opinion which is not necessarily accurate or truthful but this is where interactive commentaries help foster clearer understanding among the participants. Underlying these sharings is a fundamental need to be open to other’s viewpoints and readiness to admit our own failings as well as see the strength of another person’s perception of current issues. I have discovered this wonderful world that allow me to hear and read what I don’t get to do until blogging becomes a serious alternative medium of communication.

    We are influenced by what we listen, read and see. We need to be cautious to separate lies from facts to come to the correct decision. Blogs have stamped their authority over MSM in generating a free uncensored flow of emotion and information sharing. They contributed to a heavy sway towards the recent election victory by the Pakatan coalition parties. In this we have to thank the Barisan gvernment for allowing freedom of expression (withing limits) in cyberspace.

    We may not yet have the kind of press freedom found in the western world but I am sure we are moving in the right direction.

    Like

  2. novice101
    May 02, 2008 @ 17:53:14

    Marina Mahathir advises politcians who are now flocking to the blogshere not to censor comments that are unfavourable to them. She tells them by doing so, they would be driving the bloggers away from their sites.

    This advice comes jsut when her father started to blog. She is a very respectful and diplomatic daughter. She presents her advice to him in a very acceptable manner. Good advice, well done, Marina.

    Like

  3. monsterball
    May 02, 2008 @ 22:43:33

    If you believe Marina Mahathir is a pure NGO person and not into politics..favoring her father…is like believing UMNO members … are all saints.

    Like

  4. monsterball
    May 02, 2008 @ 22:59:05

    Great piece……Doc!
    Yes….few political bloggers.will moderate messages..for an agenda….thus doing blogging to promote one sided political opinions.
    These are mostly pro government…or pro Mahathir.. bloggers.
    Then..one or two .claiming to be NGOs…fanning and fanning …and obvious…anti government …..but talk cock and bull from overseas.
    When ever..I hear someone from oversea….be it a foreigner or Malaysians…from Bangkok or London…Sydney or Timbutku……talk so much anti government stuffs….which I mostly tend to agree with….but is not impressed by them at all.
    Those… for or against must be rooted in Malaysia…to show they are patriotic…loyal citizens….walk the talk kind of bloggers. I repeat….I am never impressed by anyone ….talking about our country…from overseas.

    Like

  5. monsterball
    May 02, 2008 @ 23:14:04

    We must be accountable to our actions and deeds…right here in Malaysia…like RPK….of “Malaysia-Today”… blog owner….say what he means and mean what he says….right in K.Lumpur….and he is one hell of a special blogger…only one of it’s kind. I really admire his guts!!
    Hope his recent spat with the police on his comments on Atlantuya ….is not too serious…and fews will be protecting him…no doubt about it.
    So if one.. confess RPK is hero to him/her…wants to hero worship RPK too…talk like him….then be like him….talk here in Malaysia…..not from overseas….and with few regular faceless and nameless cowards……fanning and fanning.
    Actually….few political bloggers are doing all that…to advertise themselves…for jobs..or a better job….if presently employed.
    So this is the group of bloggers…..that supports cunningness and selfishness. .faithfully….showing bad examples to young Malaysians.
    Sad….one is a woman!!

    Like

  6. monsterball
    May 03, 2008 @ 03:01:52

    Maybe the good news is…all anti government bloggers did contribute to the results of the election.
    I can say….commentators..by the hundreds of thousands…are also bloggers…but not blog owners….did the most for the election results.
    It’s the millions of messages….read by so many millions more…..to created awarenesses to readers.
    Blog owner is like a band leader…but the sound of thunder…are created by commentators….is what voters paid attention to.
    Just like in classic music…it is the music…people but the record….not so much because of the famous conductor.
    But what …..if the situation in Malaysia turned bad….based on bloggers anti government messages. At least those staying in Malaysia…can be given the doubt….to stand by his messages…and walk the talks…like in BERSIH and Hindraf.
    But those blog from overseas…..no matter what…cannot love Malaysia sincerely..not logical.
    How can they know how we feel right in Malaysia?? They can only..blog…. based on newspapers and hearsay information…and that is an irresponsible blogger…..out to fan and fan.
    Great ..the fanning works for the good side..and the country…but such characters….cannot be trusted…period!

    Like

  7. pohwatchdog
    May 03, 2008 @ 11:09:09

    Bloggers should blog with clear conscience. Let the people decide. The choice is in our hand

    Like

  8. monsterball
    May 03, 2008 @ 17:22:23

    People have decided …..”Just change it” was the best idea. So we did…yet few are behaving …..like they are smarter than those that have decided….by pretending …. the choice is not made yet. People have spoken…..live with it!!
    In plain simple language…..poor loosers they are………still twisting and turning…never admit defeat like gentlemen….usually party members….not really true Malaysians….talking good for Malaysia.
    Get it clear…..crooks also can lie..cheat and rob… with clear conscience.
    It is mastering the truth….the real truth…nothing but the truth……some cannot….will not…or shall not….due to what circumstances or situations of their lifestyle …they are rooted in.
    Very poor and poor…..don’t talk at all..no time. Daily looking how to earn enough…. to feed the family. Then on election day…these people usually vote for anyone can bribe them…cannot blame them.
    It’s tear gas….water cannons treatments.and jailing 5 Indians …treating Malaysians like animals….trying so hard to create FEAR…woke these poor up…and realize…..accept bribes….but ‘just change it” is correct.
    The most unpredictable is the middle class…smart …educated….can think for themselves.
    Problem is……can also be bought. Some love money in whatever form they can get…no guilty conscience at all…even be a spy…..an informer…or paid by a rich politician…to promote one sided politics.
    So browse through all the political bloggers. Browse through….so call NGO…”Non Government Organization:… bloggers…..paid to be watch dogs…..not to blog political stuffs..all the time. One is a disgrace to be call an NGO…blogging non stop….fanning and fanning anti-government stuffs….from overseas….trying to copy RPK…yet have no principles in life…to walk the talk….like RPK. It is fanning and fanning all anti-government stuffs…from overseas… and it takes a natural….no balls person….a woman..to do that.It may have helped People’s Party …but this is a classic example…of one screw loose blogger. So how to have conscience? the only cure is she says…
    “I am a political blogger”…..say that….then she is an excellent blogger….but by saying ..”I am an NGO” is simply…the biggest bullshiiter right now……but people love bullshitters…especially if that person can put out exciting messages.
    And also Marina Mahathir….go live with these hypocrites.
    Now….what does this middle class blogger …ca show to Malaysians? Same thing… Mahathir is showing for 29years……bad bad leadership by examples.
    Of course …the one living oversea having a split personality character……does not know she is doing wrong. …..provided…benefit of doubt……..saying she is one screw loose person is correct. If not…then Hokkien have words for such a person… it is..”one born with a virgina mouth”. How many middle class have studied and have split personalities??…..I feel it is ….alarming alot in Malaysia. The root cause…poor education…hero worship crooked leaders and mixing with wrong friends. For women…mostly jilted or lonely ones….slowly .turning….one screw loose person.
    This is the group…that we bloggers belong to…..can talk so much…debate…discuss.
    This is the most dangerous group….that can destroy or make Malaysia….with their votes.
    Forget about the very rich. Most will make Overseas trips…..with families…..to avoid voting..
    and returning ……when feeling safe.
    So my friends…..how can poor become middle class and middle class become rich?
    Mahathir had said it….but never practize it to all Malaysians…that is “Enrich thy neighbour”. It means…make the poor ….rich……and middle class richer…and that will being the whole country spinning up and up…..like a merry go round….making Malaysia….a blessed country for all…….a paradise country. Malaysians…no more poor…certainly no beggars…similar to Switzerland….and few countries..enjoying blissful lives.
    Problem also start with so many big mouths talking…with no experiences nor have travel to see other countries….to know…how sick Malaysia is….yet few are so proud and happy…talking like a frog or watch dog…just from their doorsteps.
    Worst of the lot…will be for those…blaming People’s Party…..right now….making a real fool of themselves…blaming wise smart voters…giving them… best options…yet they are ungrateful…..drunk by being a party member……not as smart Malaysians…at all. How many do we have???

    Like

  9. novice101
    May 03, 2008 @ 22:07:42

    Any government which has a Printing Presses and Publications Act and a OSA can shout at the top of its voice, and for as long as it wants, that it has press freedom, no one is going to believe it! Why do you think Mahathir has always found this an albatross around his neck, all these years?

    Like

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