Be responsible, bloggers urged

  • Nation
  • Friday, 23 Mar 2007

KUALA LUMPUR: Bloggers should not hide behind their anonymity and must have ethical responsibility over what they write and regard their word as binding, said Johor Baru MP Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad, who has had a blog since 1999. 

Shahrir also feels that the media should not quote anonymous bloggers as this was as good as quoting a poison-pen letter. 

“I am old-fashioned and what I say is as binding to me as what I write. What you write is powerful and I make sure what I write is what I see as a fact or opinion, which I sign off as myself. 

“To me, bloggers must be able to stand by what they write,” he said when asked on recent comments made against bloggers. 

The Internal Security Ministry’s Publication Controls and al-Quran Texts Unit senior officer Che Din Yusof was reported to have told newspapers not to quote and publish “anti-government” articles from online portals and blog. 

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor recently created a controversy when he said that most bloggers were women who were unemployed and bloggers should not be believed. 

While declining to comment on these statements, Shahrir said it was ethically wrong for newspapers to quote anonymous bloggers as it meant they did not ascribe to a source. 

He also felt that having a law to govern bloggers was not as important as bloggers themselves being ethical. 

“A blogger should exercise the right to write without being vindictive and hurting anybody,” he said, adding that the best way for those who wanted to seek recourse against bloggers was through a media council. 

Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, however, said such “anti-blogger attitude” by the authorities was worrying and not keeping with the Government’s aim to have an information- and knowledge-based society. 

“The blanket denunciation of bloggers is not good and reflects on their attitude of not being ready for an information society and advances of ICT (information communication technology). 

“They are doing a disservice to the Government, which talks about promoting ICT and transit to a knowledge-based economy,” said Lim. 

He said the authorities had to live with blogs and not conveniently denounce bloggers for revealing unpleasant things about the authorities. 

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said blog postings could create confusion and feelings of hatred and bigotry in youths. 

Syed Hamid, who is also the Malaysian Association of Youth Clubs president, said some bloggers might have an ulterior agenda.  

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