Hey, hey, hey. It's faaaaaaaat Mydeen !
Well, not really too fat, but definitely a little rounded. Mydeen should cut down on his daily intake of roti canai. Too big a belly and he won't be able to bow down and say, "Ampun, Tuanku" like Uncle Lim did.
But who wants to hear about Mydeen's dietary problems, today we were all on edge until Pak Lah announced his Cabinet. Well, maybe not a full cabinet. More like a small cupboard with it's greatly reduced membership partly because all Parliamentary Secretaries lost their jobs.
Yeah, it has been trimmed down, but then at 68 members, it is still about 50% of the 140 elected BN MPs which is about par for the course since in 2004 Pak Lah selected 91 BN MPs out of 198. Which means that close to 1 in every 2 BN parliamentarians would still be in the executive.
But today's posting isn't about the small cupboard. It's about blogs, who are now asking to be seen as accredited media. Mydeen spoke about this yesterday, when he said "And Oh, Fuck, the blogs are now going to think that they actually have reached the objectivity of a properly run news outlet.". Barely 3 and a half hours later, Zorro Unmasked demands that blogs have been vindicated and should be accredited media.
The Siber Party of Malaysia (M) asks, do they know what they are asking for and are they really ready for that ?
Being accredited media and operating like a proper entity of the Fourth Estate requires a lot of responsibility. It requires you to check your facts and not shoot off allegations and then demand that those allegations be proven wrong. Mydeen always believed that it's innocent until proven guilty, and that the accuser should provide the hard evidence of any accusations made, not the other way round.
It requires you to be able to stand up for what you have written, and not go crying to mommy when you are sued for publishing something without proper investigation. It requires you to be able to defend your allegations in court, for in doing so and winning, you would actually add to your credibility and integrity. Crying about freedoms of speech being denied just does not cut it, since the justice system in Malaysia allows for both sides to be heard. And yes, if bloggers want to be accredited media, then they must be ready to be sued and challenged on what they say, instead of censoring detractors.
It requires you to have some brakes, and some editorial policy for without it, there will be "No safety net. No brakes. No one there to question, doubt or inspire. No editor."
It requires you to give credit to your predecessors, the likes of M.G.G. Pillai and A. Ghani Ismail (aka Tok Guru), both of whom were taking advantage of internet publishing long before blogs even existed. Tun Mahathir may say "Melayu mudah lupa", but Mydeen says, "Bloggers mudah lupa" when they ignore the framework which was presented to them on a platter as they claim their supremacy in changing the political landscape.
It requires you to be honest and truthful in your agenda. There really is nothing wrong with being subjective and lopsided in your editorial policy, but in doing so, bloggers as accredited media have to be honest to their readers and declare their stand on issues.
Or as Greyman suggests, we could adopt an escape clause and ask about the motives behind disparaging a publication which could be a business rival to a news portal planned by a comrade in arms, under the guise of seeking clarity or responsibility. That would lack honesty and integrity. And both are virtues which bloggers claim they have in droves, and mainstream media does not.
But mainstream media, proper media, has a more comprehensive set of virtues at its core. And only when all of these are met, can bloggers aspire to accreditation.
1. Journalism's first obligation is to the truth
2. Its first loyalty is to citizens
3. Its essence is a discipline of verification
4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover
5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power
6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise
7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant
8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional
9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience
If bloggers are unable to meet that, then just practise another artform. Make your readers laugh along with you, at the world around them and at their environment. Like the long lost Malay Male, who has made his return in his usual manner.
The public don't want to be fooled by what they see or hear. The public want challenges to preconceived ideas and to say goodbye to long standing fears. The public dont wanna play by the rules under the thumb of the cynical few. Or be laden down by the doom crew.
The public want a new song from bloggers, before they can aspire to accreditation.