There has been much confusion over what can — and cannot — be said on the Internet... People who do not practise self-censorship are often the ones who create civil unrest. These people are often seen as threats to national security and the law stands by to keep them in line... ... As soon as a blog entry is posted, the key words can be picked up by search engines worldwide... For youth who wish to discuss controversial political issues, I feel they should not do so in online forums or on popular blogs, as they may still come under the ambit of local laws governing the Internet... ... However, they should be encouraged to do so in real-life group discussions. This would encourage greater responsibility and civic consciousness (since they have to own their opinions, unlike online where they can remain anonymous or use pseudonyms)... ... In short, the questions for readers to ask are: Is freedom of speech in itself truly constructive? Or does one also need to practise self-censorship before engaging the public with one's possibly controversial views? And, if self-censorship fails, does the Government have the obligation and right to keep individuals in line?Read the full article here. This op-ed is as funny as it is scary. It's funny in that Timothy feels that folks should discuss politics in 'real-life group discussions'. I guess he's right since most Internet discussions are not real-life hahaha! Even Dubya Bush thinks so too. There are so many different Internets, each one residing in its own parallel universe LOL! The other problem is that to do a 'real-life group discussion', one has to apply for a permit, and the only four or less people (I think) can sit at a table to avoid been labeled an 'illegal gathering'. So, yeah, there might be logistical problems in taking this approach. The scary thing is the last part about the failure of self-censorship and whether the government should keep folks in line. It's abundantly clear to me that at least one person should be afraid, very afraid. Yes, you guessed it: Timothy Tang Nam Yen. Unfortunately, self-censorship is clearly absent in him from the contents of his letter. He suggests legislative measures upon others, and sent his political letter to the newspaper to get it published, for the purpose of engaging the public with his possibly controversial views! He should have censored and stopped himself, putting his letter quietly back into his drawer. I do wish Timothy the best; I won't want to see the government exercising its obligation and right to keep people in line! (But maybe that's a good thing, for people like him are often the ones who create civil unrest.) The other nice article 's titled "Still room for bloggers", read it here. There's a discussion about blogs that need to be registered with the authorities if they seem to be 'political blogs'. Naturally, one would ask what such a blog might look like, as compared to a 'non-political' blog.
... MP Zainudin Nordin, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Information, Communications and the Arts, offers a distinction. It is one between opinion and advocacy. "If the Government were to launch ComCare to help the needy and someone said the scheme was rubbish, well, that's his opinion. But if he said, 'Let's all gang up together and demonstrate against it', he's standing for something. He's politicising it," he said. His viewpoint is reflected in MDA's Internet industry guidelines, which state that web pages that promote political or religious "causes" are automatically licensed. An echo of this approach is also in the Government's view of "crusading journalism" as unhealthy. While blogs are online diaries, the MDA told Today that with regard to political content on websites, "current rules applicable to the media will continue to apply". In general, that means nothing which is against "public interest or order, or national harmony or which offends against good taste or decency"...I took a full three minutes looking at MP Nordin's response, and I'm still unsure what he meant. How does anyone realistically 'gang up together and demonstrate against it'? And isn't a person who says that the ComCare scheme is rubbish also standing up for something? He's standing up for his opinion that the scheme is rubbish! I don't know leh, that's why I love local Op-Eds. They keep my mind occupied throughout the day with such interesting brain teasers... ;p