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Thursday April 5, 2007

Bloggers may have to register


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    AT THE DEWAN RAKYAT 

    BLOGGERS using locally hosted websites may be asked to register with the authorities, Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said. 

    He said registration was one of the measures the Government was considering to prevent the spread of negative or malicious content on the Internet. 

    Shaziman said this while winding up the debate on the motion of thanks on the Royal Address for his ministry. 

    He added that the ministry did not have any problem with bloggers who identified themselves, and he welcomed blogging activities. 

    However, he said there were about 50,000 websites registered under the .my suffix and there were a lot of avenues for anyone to host websites with malicious content which could harm the country’s security. 

    Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, who interjected when Shaziman was speaking, said the negative comments of several ministers about bloggers reflected their lack of understanding about information flow in cyberspace. 

    “They should be educated on the vast benefits of blogging, which will help them to interact more with the people. Many politicians overseas already have their own blogs,” he added. 

    Asked to comment on the matter, Johor Baru MP Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said bloggers were very aware of their own ethics and responsibility for content on their sites. 

    While agreeing that there were bloggers who had inflammatory content, he said unidentified bloggers could still be traced through their website addresses. 

    He added that the problem was also about inflammatory comments by unidentified visitors to the blogs. 

    Ahirudin Attan of Rocky's Bru said the move to compel local bloggers to register was effectively the Government trying to control what Malaysians were writing online. 

    “This violates the Government's no-censorship policy with regards to the Internet,” he said. 

    He added that the move would just create fear among the bloggers and would encourage them to host their blogs overseas.  

    Marina Mahathir, a blogger and activist, said the Government really should “get real.”  

    She said the move “is just going to make Malaysia look ridiculous in the eyes of the world.”  

    Blogger Jeff Ooi wondered why the Government was pursuing this course of action.  

    He said the Government had already set up the Content Forum to deliberate on complaints by any party.  

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