Sunday, February 04, 2007

We have no hats

The dust of the past fortnight has settled. This is partly due, of course, to the agreement reached by all parties to not discuss the civil action against the two bloggers. We at Siber Party of Malaysia (M) will not discuss the lawsuit either.

In fact, we have never discussed the facts of the lawsuit proper. We have been consistent in suggesting that this is all about two rights colliding, and that the allegedly defamed have a right to sue just as the two bloggers have the rights to publish. While we have been accused of throwing our hats on the side of the NST for our stance, it's quite clear that this has never been the case if you've read our postings here and our comments on the various blogs. But it touched a nerve somewhere, for we got banned for what we said. By the freedom fighters themselves.

Within this scope though, the spin which we've highlighted has taken a course of its own. What once started off as a fight for freedom of speech, is now taking a new spin as a protest against the present administration. It does seem, reading the latest round of postings on the blogs, that this is now converging into an indictment of the present Prime Minister's short term in office with various hats being thrown in the respective corners. We are not surprised, given that the signs were there for about a week. It's all in the banner image. And they will all have been there at the Helang Room, Legends Hotel for a press conference by Tun Mahathir Mohamad.

The spin is also spinning another yarn. Now it's about responsibility in blogging. Marina Mahathir, who has agreed that our comments on Kickdefella were not inflammatory, has a good entry on this. The spin seems to be saying that bloggers are responsible as long as they publish their names and are not anonymous. Mydeen wonders if this is a license to then go on to wage personal wars and to suggest insinuations without supporting evidence ?

Mentera.Org, who we have firmly denied being, had a post where our anonymity was questioned. Now, the semi-anonymous chaps behind Mentera.Org do sometimes write stuff which we find quite palatable. We however feel that being identified is just one part of responsible blogging. Walking with a mask does not mask the message, if the message itself is important.

The message shouldn't be coloured by the perceptions of the messenger. If it comes to that, it should be about shooting the message, and never about shooting the messenger. Which is why we think that if more oppresive laws like the Sedition Act were used, that would be tantamount to curtailing freedom of speech and expression and shooting the messenger. Instead, this is about blog entries which are allegedly defamatory and not the entire blog or the blog owner. It's about shooting the message, not the messenger.

Being anonymous, and still exuding a message of logic and reasoning doesn't take anything away from the message. It's only the snipers who do not analyse but rather post insinuations and insults which are abusing the freedoms the Internet provides for. And there are snipers abound, both anonymous and identified. Identity alone should not be a defence against such behaviour. The message should be one of fact and one which spurs change and progress. The ones who provide their opinions and analysis may lose some credibility because they are anonymous, but this shouldn't dilute the message itself.

We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven? Is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel.

At the Siber Party of Malaysia (M), we are all men without hats. We seek to see things for what they are, and for upholding the rights of all citizens, big and small.

Yes, we can dance the safety dance if we want to. And we'll dance with everyone, even if your friends don't dance.

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