Malaysians form 'band of bloggers'

Founder of blogger alliance say they hope to enlighten government about blogs.

    Tight control of Malaysia's traditional media has pushed political discussions into the blogosphere [AP]
    The move comes as the government reportedly considers setting up a 'blogger registry' to control anonymous postings with hwta it calls "malicious content" - which are usually comments critical of policies deemed as a national security threat.

    "Our top priority is to counter the negative image painted by the authorities depicting all bloggers as liars with anti-government sentiments"

    Ahirudin Attan, National Alliance of Bloggers

    Ahirudin said they will try to get the government to see their point of view and why certain postings are put up.
    "When certain quarters in government become hostile towards bloggers, I believe they mean to aim their hostility at a small group of bloggers or online writers whose views and takes of current affairs they fear," he wrote on his blog.
    Ahirudin and fellow blogger Jeff Ooi, his deputy in the alliance, are being sued by the New Straits Times newspaper, for alleged defamatory postings about the paper.
    "If the politicians do not want to take the effort to learn about blogging and to understand bloggers, I believe the bloggers will have to take that initiative," said Ahirudin.
    Ahirudin said the alliance would next meet to discuss a constitution and ethical code, funding issues and the recruitment of paying members, including overseas-based Malaysian bloggers.
    "Our top priority is to counter the negative image painted by the authorities depicting all bloggers as liars with anti-government sentiments," he told Al Jazeera.
    "Our group prefers self-regulation to government control, and the bloggers were unanimous on that."
    Ahirudin added that the bloggers at Thursday's meeting insisted on fair representation within the group to reflect the country's multi-ethnic society.
    On Thursday, Najib Abdul Razak, Malaysia's deputy prime minister, said bloggers have made the "business of government more challenging", inadvertently confirming the growing influence of political blogs.
    "Some merely inform, others argue a point of view, and a few simply distort and sensationalise," he said.
    "There is now more competition for readership, viewership, eyeballs, revenues, profits and, yes, even infamy," he added.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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