Blocking bloggers

0

Charter 2000-Aliran is deeply concerned by the recent defamation suit brought out by the New Straits Times Press against bloggers Jeff Ooi of "Screenshots" fame and Ahirudin Attan ("Rocky's Bru") for their allegedly defamatory postings.

Although we don't intend to go into details of the case as it might be interpreted as being sub judice, we are disturbed by the repercussions the suit might have on blogging circles in the country. Bloggers may feel pressured to exercise more self-censorship and caution and this might deter them from exposing abuse of power and corruption at the highest levels.

This suit is also politically significant for advocates of freedom of expression especially since the space available for democratic discourse on the Internet is far wider than the shrinking space available to the mainstream media. The mainstream media rarely expose major scandals or display investigative journalism. This uncritical and unquestioning approach was especially evident in their reporting of the case of the murdered Mongolian woman.

Given this political context, a legal suit – especially if it involves a claim of damages that runs into the millions – may open the floodgates to other attempts to muzzle bloggers and webmasters using legal means.

In the name of accountability, transparency and good governance, we call upon the government to institute reforms that strengthen democratic institutions and protect the right to free expression in the media, including the Internet.

Dr Mustafa Kamal Anuar & Anil Netto

Coordinators

Charter 2000-Aliran

19 January 2007

Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments