Star Online Wednesday October 10, 2007
Chia: Don’t view blogs as threats
PENANG: Citizen journalism in the form of blogs should not be viewed as a threat to the Government. Deputy Information Minister Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye said that citizen journalism through blogs presented an opportunity rather than a threat.
“Blogs provide a valuable feedback mechanism for the Government. Such feedback provides useful checks and balances and helps the Government to improve its delivery services,” he said.
Chia said that like conventional journalists, bloggers should conform to ethical standards practised in the world of professional journalism.
“This is to ensure that its contents comply with Malaysia’s laws and are credible,” he said in an interview.
Chia will speak on the Media’s Role in The Digital Era at the MSC Malaysia Cybercity Conference, which will be held on Oct 23 and 24.
He said there were about 70 million bloggers’ websites out of the three billion websites available in the cyber world now.
“There are approximately 1.4 blogs being created every second on a daily basis. For this reason, it is very difficult for the authorities to monitor and track consistently those websites that spread rumours and falsehoods,” he said.
Chia said that Internet users must therefore adopt a critical attitude towards the content of the digital media.
“While digital media has been used for the greater good to promote e-banking, e-government, and on-line shopping to improve delivery system, it has also been frequently used negatively to spread rumours and unreliable information.”
However, there were presently adequate laws, such as the Communications & Multimedia Act of 1998, to regulate digital media, he said.
“The law allows for the relevant authorities, such as the internet service providers and the police, to work together to prevent any cyber activity that contravenes the laws of the country,” he said.
Singapore Straits Times deputy editor Felix Soh who will speak on the same topic at the conference, said the Singaporean authorities were quick to act against those responsible for initiating provocative discussions on politics, race, religion, and language on the net.
“This is because the Singaporean authorities have very clear cut guidelines on such issues. For example, only members of political parties can initiate political debates,” he said.