Saturday, April 07, 2007

Malaysia: Registration for Bloggers in the future?

Malaysian Government is mulling on an idea of whether to ask locally hosted bloggers' websites to register with the authorities. This is another registration planned after the last year pre-paid mobile phone sunscription.

To prevent the spread of negative or malicious content in the Internet. (Recently, there were cases of clashes of ideas and opinions between government ministers and bloggers.)

Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, 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.

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.

The Star: Readers: Waste of time to register

Additional Links:
The Star: Bloggers may have to register
Sydney Morning Herald: Malaysian bloggers may have to reveal identities
The Age: Malaysian bloggers may have to reveal identities
IHT: Report: Malaysian minister proposes blogger registration to curb malicious content
ABC Radio: Proposal to register Malaysian bloggers

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