Monday, March 17, 2008

BLOGS VINDICATED. WILL BLOGGERS BE ACCREDITED AS NEW MEDIA?

On Tuesday 30 January 2007,I, previously blogging just as zorro, unmasked myself to seek credibility for what I had set out to do. I said in my maiden posting:

The final straw that broke the camel's back to finally kick-start this blog is of course the legal action of the bullies, hiding under a corporate perforated umbrellas, against two uncompromising and not-so-easily cowed master-bloggers. These plaintiffs know as much about journalism as a toad would know about baking a cheese cake. These have turned the mainstream dailies into house organs, and in-house sheets promoting the interests of their political masters, thus making them impotent as an independent news voice. Investigative journalism to unravel unbridled corruption, thriving unimpeded on Malaysian fertile environment is definitely anathema!

This maiden posting ask these questions:

Where is the power to think for oneself?

Where is the forum for diverse ideas?

What happens to the court of public opinion?

Along the way, questions were asked by concerned friends, relatives and family.when I told them I received an anonymous call that reminded me that there still existed a place called Kamunting. That was when I decided to stay the course. That was when I told the anon caller that Kamunting was in my hometown Taiping and a visit would be nostalgic to relive those unfetterd days I spent with Kamal, Zainal, Sunny, his brother Boy, my brother Mike, Chandra (Rat) and his pint-sized brother Kecil.

But above all I wrote on April 12, 2007 that this has to go on:

I am blessed with a current blogroll of Malaysia's alpha-bloggers, the real movers who themselves have amassed a blogroll of the most talented young turks who want to effect a paradigm shift on how they want this country to have a new vision and direction.

We have been led like zombies into believing semua-nya ok. We want to change the rules. This country needs a make-over. This country must be revived with a massive blood transfusion.

Then came along EVENTS that you cannot write about it you were not there....there was the March Of The Penguins (Lawyers walk for Justice); the Yellow Wave generated by BERSIH; the HINDRAF Rally that gave birth to that rallying cry: MAKKAL SAKTI that sounded the death-knell to the arrogant MIC; the Human Rights Sunday Stroll; the Candlelight Vigil to to plead for the release of the Hindraf 5; the Children's Offering of Roses to the PM (which he did not accept) and the final rally at KLCC to stall the increase in the price of gas. All were fraught with its particular dangers....searing tear gas, stinging water from chemically laced water canons and the dreaded arrests. It was no fun when someone behind you greets and asks: Hello Zorro, can I have your particulars?

Then you got to go down to ground-zero to ceremahs in Penang, Rembau, Wangsa Maju, TTDI, SS2, Subang Jaya, Section 5 & 17, Segambut, Kelana Jaya and Kelang....capture the sense of each ceremah and come back and blog about them to the internet community

Did all these matter? For me it did matter, because I just wanted to contribute. Was it worth it? It was because collectively the PEOPLE thought and willed as one. Did Blogging contribute? In its little way I think blogging helped UNTIL.........

,,,,,,observer-journalists like DEAN JOHNS and KEE TUAN CHYE wrote that bloggers made a difference:

DEAN said in Malaysiakini:

The Net Strikes:

As maddeningly slow as it can be at times to those of us impatient to see an end of a regime like BN, evolution sure beats revolution in the long haul. Revolutions, coups and other sudden, dramatic and drastic shifts of power have a way of replacing one unbearable tyranny with another that, after the initial popular euphoria has died down, turns out to be equally evil or even, if possible, worse.

Witness the dismal long-term effects of communist revolutions in Russia, China, Cuba and elsewhere; the atrocious results of armed power-grabs as in Soeharto’s Indonesia, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the generals’ Burma; and the catastrophic consequences of theocratic take-overs in the Ayatollah’s Iran and the Taliban’s Afghanistan.

In the light of such cases as these, Malaysia is fortunate to have been spared the blood, tears, terrors and likely disappointments of revolution in favour of political evolution. Or, more specifically, e-volution. Because, as everyone must be aware by now, what’s made this election such a watershed is the power of the Internet.

BN thought it understood this, but the election results demonstrated that it had no idea what it was dealing with. Attempting to write-off bloggers as nothing but “nuisances”, “liars” and “unemployed women” was its first mistake, given that the bloggosphere boasted such political heavyweights as Lim Kit Siang and Anwar Ibrahim and a whole galaxy of increasingly heavy-hitters like Raja Petra Kamarudin, Rocky Attan, Jeff Ooi, Haris Ibrahim, Elizabeth Wong, Susan Loone, Bernard Khoo, K Temoc, Lulu and thousands of others as effective but too numerous to name here.

And unlike BN and its media minions, including a whole squadrons of ‘mainstream’ journalists-for-rent ranging from Kalimullah Hassan of the New Straits Times to Joceline Tan of Star, most of the bloggers systematically built their credibility by telling the truth, at least as they see or are able to ascertain it.

Kee Tuan Chye in his own inimitable way, says YES, bloggers are doing it right.


KEE averred:
“The mainstream media needs to change now. It cannot be partisan any more. It must adapt to the new political landscape. Report the news as it is without editorialising. Support issues fairly. Regardless of which party champions them.

“The media cannot play the old game any more or it will end up like the BN dinosaurs. This is also the age of the Internet and SMS. People can’t be so easily fooled or sold on repackaged truth. Readers and viewers are now better informed and educated. They will abandon the mainstream media if it continues to be biased.

“Journalists must uphold the values and principles of their noble profession. They should be the watchdogs of society, not spindoctors or propagandists,” Kee concluded.

MY QUESTIONS:

Will Socio-Political Bloggers be accepted as the New Media?

Will we be accredited and accepted to cover media events?

JUST ASKING!

AND HOPING!


33 comments:

Mydeen Aboo Backer said...

Mydeen asks, what then of your thoughts about your friend and Press Club drinking buddy, Shanghai Fish, making unwarranted accusations not based on fact in his latest posting ? Are such bloggers vindicated too ?

Or will you censor this comment because it asks a critical question of one of your own ?

Malay Women in Malaysia said...

Well, we have good and bad bloggers. I guess I'm in the learning stage to be a good blogger but I have to admit that it is not easy to be one. One wrong move and we might offend some other people through our blogging.

On the long run, blogging is a great way for Malaysians to gauge our tolerance and understanding towards each other. Besides, bloggers are only humans who want others to hear their inner voices that have been suppressed by the evil empire far too long. Barisan Nasional who feeds Malaysians with lies and garbage under the pretext of peace for so many years has to be blamed for the current blogging boom here in Malaysia.

Thank you, Barisan Nasional!

Malay Women in Malaysia

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Zorro
Can you believe this is my first comment here. You lot, the New Media practitioners, are going from strength to strength. They now realise this stark truth: Ignore the SOPO bloggers to their own peril.

Truth be told, I haven't heard of Dean Johns until today. Please have compassion on my poor nerve and don't ask me where have I been?My questions:

About journalists-for-rent ranging from XXX to YYY, how huge is the range?

Are both of them the extremists?

aMiR

team bsg said...

Blogging is a free tool available to anyone with a basic computer hardware and understanding of the internet, who can write and post singlehandedly & almost instantaneously and so is a very powerful information/misinformation media as the case may be. Of couse a reputable blogger has to earn his stripes so to speak and some may inadvertently fall victim to the usual corruption of the mind/ego as time goes on,just like any journalistic publications or mere mortals. We shall have to wait and see this newfound and recognised awareness and hope that there are many probable Phantoms Unmasked out there in addition to the likes of the one & only Zorro Unmasked !
but be very beware of powerful false prophets too

zorro said...

Mydeen Aboo Backer of Siber Party of Malaysia: Just two questions: Why come in here to ask about what Shanghai Fish said about Malaysia Insider. I thoughy it is courtesy to go direct and confront him there instead of coming in here.

Second question: Since you are privy to much, why dont you tell us how shanhai fish is wrong in his assertions?

But in the interest of free speech, thanks for visiting.

zorro said...

aMir...over the years I have seen you in many blogs. What has happened to our Clark Gable? Anyway, welcome to this humble blog.

zewt said...

you're certainly approved... your no holds barred is very powderful already...

20 Cent said...

Hi Zorro,

To me, the question as to whether or not bloggers and blogging will be accepted as a valid form of media is not really all that important.

While journalism is supposed to be impartial, nothing written down by any individual can be totally impartial.

If we were to argue it, even history can be said to be subject to bias because of individual perception.

That is the beauty of blogging and bloggers.

Like in your post, "most of the bloggers systematically built their credibility by telling the truth, at least as they see or are able to ascertain it".

Bloggers tell the truth as they see it, not as they are paid for it. Yes our views are probably biased, but this is because our views are based on deeply personal beliefs.

This take on promoting personal beliefs is a potent communication tool in the hands of passionate bloggers, especially when coupled with the ability to engage people instantly through the comments section.

Perhaps bloggers and blogging will never take the place of mainstream media. However, if it does, it is because bloggers have earned the right to be called the watchdogs of society.

20 Cent said...

P.S. They threatened you with Kamunting? Impressive comeback, I must say. Respect to you for giving 'em a reply like that.

Please do accept my apologies for being a little crass at this point, but you have a pretty impressive pair of jewels there, sir.

hard-T said...

100 per cent. approved. cheers to blogger

zorro said...

20 cents: jewels?

malay women....you said:One wrong move and we might offend some other people through our blogging.

That comes with the job..our job is to express and not impress.In the process of promoting freedom of expression and free speech we are bound to come up against some wall.If some are offended and continue to be offended even after I try to engage them, then this blog should be given a miss because I will not pander to recalcitrance and intransigence. It is futile to engage intractability. Expletives? It has its potency. As blog owner, I will judge if it goes thru or not. You invariably will have a sense of its intended message. I use it sparingly, sometimes in exasperation, like recently, but never in frustration over a situation. If I have to use it, I use it and not *#@^.

Old Fart said...

Well, I am afraid people are not exactly ready for bloggers to be regarded as media, new or otherwise. On Saturday went for the Post Election Forum at Sunway University College, organised by CPPS. We needed to register, and they had a separate table and sheet that said Media and of course another for attendees. O.k. la, o.k, la..I cannot claim to be a blogger of any stature...that is why I more proudly declare myself a commentator. Anyway, since I was in friendly country, so to say, I asked if I should put my name down as media. And they wanted to know which media I represented. And I said, blogger..and they showed me to the other list...ah...at least not to the door!

lucia said...

i am also hoping, zorro. :)

Old Fart said...

Why worry if blogging is a valid activity? Why worry if it is to be accepted as a valid activity? Accepted by whom? And why is that whom important enough that his or her approval is necessary?

i have spoken to a lot of people who would qualify as whom and who until now probably shape their world around what is painted by the MSM. Without even going into any blog, meaning they don't exactly know the community, they dismiss it. They sound so authoritative when making calls on what would happen if BN loses. It just takes me under a minute to get them stumped about their own confidence. I am sure a lot of them feel foolish right now for being so confident that their world view as acquired from MSM was so obsolete and empty.

The only consolation they seem to have to shut me up is, lame stuff like, "time will tell", "just wait and see".

On that score, I think it is about time the DAP crowd especially realise, as much as substance is all that matters, with a large majority out there, form gets to them more quickly and form might just be necessary as well.

elviza said...

You go Zorro!! Luqman and I (and Jefree too) are so proud of you for always striving to tell it as it is.

Words cannot describe my joy right now. Hope to see you shortly at Maria & Ruslani's.

-your darling daughter-

20 Cent said...

Jewels :) Sorry for being a little too descriptive, but your stones must weigh in at a couple of hundred pounds.

And yes, I agree with you in regards to your points with A Malay Woman. There is no tightrope to walk in terms of good or bad bloggers, provided the blogger does not defame anyone.

Bloggers are biased. What is said in blogs are personal views, which sometimes to offend. A good example would be any one of the many BN sycophant's blogsites.

There blogsites are there. There blogsites do exists. And yes, I take offense at what is said on it because of their nearsighted views.

Early on, I actually tried to engage a few of them, but it is quite futile because these bloggers have a mystical ability to resist logic.

But it doesn't matter, because I have the choice to either have what little intelligence I have continually insulted by going back, or just not going back.

zorro said...

Old fart....it is not we want blogging to be seen as a valid activity per se. We need accreditation as media. We are lucky we hve our little birds, deep throats and hantus but nothing like being there and reporting it as it is. I would like to sit in in Parliament or state assemblies. That way MPs and aduns would be more alert and guarded. It works both ways for the common good. Of course, there is no glory in that, only recognition.

Sean E said...

Now that the opposition parties have won control of 5 state governments and denied BN two third majority in the parliament, do the next stage by petition for a Royal Commission on Electoral Reform (RCER) in Malaysia.

If you want to have a better future for our children in Malaysia, do your part by signing the on-line petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/RCER2008/petition.html

This is one way to bring our message to the Government.

Don’t just sit there, stand up and be counted! We want a fair and transparent election.

WHY DO WE NEED TO REFORM THE ELECTION COMMISSION?

1) Gerrymandering. The discrepancy between number of voters in voting areas is too great. The smallest parliamentary seat (Federal Territory, Putrajaya) has only 6,608 voters while the parliamentary seat for Kapar in Selangor has 112,224 voters. What this means is that one vote in the Putrajaya parliamentary constituency is equivalent to 17 votes in the Kapar constituency.

2) Phantom voters. A common tactic is to ‘buy’ the identity card of the voters. Party members from the ruling parties will then vote on the voters’ behalf. Random checking of a person’s identity must be conducted using those finger print checking device (like the bank use). Any voting done on another person’s identity must be made a serious offence under the election law. Now you know why the indelible ink was withdrawn at the last minute by the SPR (Election Commission).

3) Postal votes. The rules on postal voting must be reviewed, tightened and amended. The current rule favours the ruling party as the armed forces personnel and policemen who vote by ‘postal voting’ would obviously not jeopardize their career or promotion prospect by voting for the opposition. Voting under postal voting is not secret as it is under the watchful eyes of the senior officers. Christina Liew of DAP (Api-Api) lost due to postal votes. The ruling party has control of 250,000 postal votes!

4) Spoiled votes. How do we define spoiled votes. It is very easy to turn good votes into spoiled votes (by adding one more x to the ballot paper). Are spoiled votes being verified and watched over by the party representatives? In marginal areas in which the winning margin is razor thin, the so-called spoiled votes need to be scrutinized.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bernard,

It's very encouraging to note that you would like to be a part of the media industry, covering events, and functioning as a journalist under the banner of New Media.I think it's an honourable aspiration. Profanity is not the way forward for the New Media.

But allow me, in the spirit of "free speech" as you so eloquently put it, to share my thoughts with you on the principles involved.

Firstly Bernard, for blogs to be recognised as New Media (and which they should), I believe there should be some decorum both in language and presentation.

For instance while it's acceptable to criticise I don't think it gives anyone the right to insult the next man or woman. Calling your targets of critcicms names, like monkey, idiot, and what have you, is not only unethical it will not help your cause. I don't think you would like to be called all that when you are in a vocal exchange of thoughts, ideals, and words. Name calling and insulting is not part of responsible journalism just as writing untruth is.

Secondly, the "Old Media" which I was a part of, among other things, preached one tennet -- that we should write the news and not be a part of it. Simply ut, we don't march on streets unless its for freedom of the press. We don't make speeches in ceramahs. We don't walk with candidates shouting slogans and campaigning for them.

If we believe in a candidate, we show our support for him or her through our WRITING, as partial or impartial as it may be.

Respectability doesn't always come with just writing the truth, but also in how you have presented it. When you have presented it in a fair, just, in appropriate language, and with class, it doesn't matter whether you are old or new media.

What matters is you should be a part of the Just Media.

Al the best in your aspirations.

By Lazarus Rokk
Ex-Media

Anonymous said...

Not all bloggers are knowledgeable and objective.In fact some are too emotional...actually descending to the level of using four letter words!
Socio-Political Bloggers can play a role to supplement the Main stream Media.Accredited and accepted to cover media events?No,...not in the forseeable future!

Anonymous said...

Malaysian mainstream media - I wouldnt trust as far as I can throw the biased and "agenda" serving garbage they regurgitate and expect the public to swallow !!

Malaysian newspapers are good for wiping the backside so please send to the poor nations who cant afford a town septic system.

Come off it with the so called pretentious disgust at the displayed profanity and four letter words for god's sake. Take a good look around you in our current world - unless you live under a shell.

How much has format, style, content, language, presentation and messages etc changed in our modern day multimedia - movies, speeches, songs, dialogues, monologues, advertising, books, magazines, internet, blogs and mind you also now noted in "stuffy" english dictionaries.

Scocio Political Bloggers are already on road to acceptance as the new media and certainly will be accepted by public.

Sometimes profanity is warranted and totaly aceptable to get the simplest truthful message across into hardened or thickened hearts,skin and minds.

So go on blogging in your natural free flowing style as long as it serves your conscience well when you sleep at night.

KLConfidential said...

Well, well! Trust Zorro to ask to be where the action is! Count me in!

I don't know about anyone else, but there is something about giving out your opinion and to be heard.

There is something about engaging someone else to a debate or to exchange ideas, especially on a blog.

Also, there is something about reading someone else's thoughts that gives a different perspective, new information and if it's a particularly nice post, it gives you encouragement and motivation so you don't feel so alone anymore.

I agree with oldfart and lazarus, a certain amount of decorum is needed if blogs are to be counted as official media... but i guess that's why i like blogs.

We can tell it like it is. No holds barred. I can air out my opinions without being censored by someone else.

And when you finally meet the person whose thoughts you have delved in all this while, it is even nicer. As your opinions on him/her are not based on how he/she looks or speaks. But based on how he/she thinks. It's really nice.

Kinda like a blind date.

a malaysian in riyadh said...

Zorro
Yes been wondering too what has happened to CGPD? If my memory can be trusted, his last post is I'm Sailing. And since then we've been salivating for his return, haven't we? If you bump into him in his desert island hideout, please persuade him to tiru macam Freelunch2020 or Uncle Lee. Meanwhile, we just wait for his reappearance in the blogosphere with bated breath ...
aMiR

LC_Teh said...

I remember at one time when Jeff Ooi despaired that his efforts to raise more socio-political bloggers like himself to create a new wave revolution that could eventually change the landscape of Malaysian politics seemed to have produced very little results. We, his regular readers managed to pit in and kept reminding him of his own "Great Salt March" rallying call.

Well, today he should look back and "Yes, we did it!!!"...

Dave Avran said...

zorro,

thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. yes, i remember "pin the tail on the donkey" well.

you're right, zorro, there is a fishy whiff around. i guess it's easy to be brave when you're hiding behind your mother's sarong.

i am proud to say that i do not leave anonymous comments. if you have the balls to say it, than have the balls to put your name to it.

i am also equally proud of my blogger friends as they own up to what they say. maybe this merah fler needs a dictionary to figure out the meaning of the word "unmasked". i'm willing to donate an oxford or a collins - he can choose.

unfortunately, balls come attached to character. grow some huevos and don't hide anymore, little boy.

Senile white haired man said...

Hey old man..shuddup la

Wong Tak-Chun Wai said...

You as new media. Hahahahahahahahaha!

You know nuts about the media..just a bloody small time 'blogger'.

Anonymous said...

HAIL TO THE PEOPLE.... PEOPLE ARE THE POWER, BN will learn further in the next election, lets bring em down in four years.

Lets keep the FLAME burning each night by reporting truth via blogs.

Lets convert all those who didnt vote and voters.

Lets speak up against racialtic policy.

Lets BE ONE - ALL MALAYSIAN. no more crap or divisional race based comments or policy.

sinnersaint9@gmail.com

zorro said...

Dear Lazarus,

Wow, I mused....what did I do to be honored by a visit from an ex-media (PR non media meh?)personage like you. The the wow turned to POW...your dissertation on what good journalism is. Did I ever in our 30 odd years of association intimated that I wanted to be a journalist and now aspire to be one? I just asked a simple direct question....can bloggers be recognised now as a new media and as such if recognised would they be accredited? Nothing like being there so that when you come back you can answer the who,what, where,why,when and how of the event. Profanity?You of all person, escaped the nuance of "shut the fuck up" compared to "fuck off" or "fuck you".....and how this blessed word could be used in the different parts of speech.

No lah, Rokk, I dont want to be recognised as a journalist...I just do not have the integrity that is a prerequisite for this noble profession. I just want what I and many others do to be recognised as something we are serious about.... dig up the truth and tell the truth. Nothing sinister, right?

Just in case you missed this: bloggers get plastered ...in the interest of free speech and freedom of expression we allow comments for or against us. I publish it although we have this vehicle in blogging called moderation: a choice to publish or reject. In my 14 months of blogging I only rejected two comments because they were racists. Blogging is plain sailing? Not actually...it is fraught with incidents like impersonation,(like the occasion someone impersonated me and posted a most racist posting in another blog...only to be alerted by some readerin the US who decided that that was not my style of writing.

Sometimes I answer my commenters, like I am doing yours. But I will pay no attention to the likes of the above two comments because they do no contribute to dialogue...infantile squeaks do not get my attention....but I publish it to show how small some people can be.

rokk, I will not use this comment page to publicly air my reservations. I will email you some other takes on what bloggers try to do, despite the barriers put up. I just ask for understanding, nothing more. I hope you see me (and blogging)in a better light.

Whitelight59 said...

Anon 12.59pm and Wong Fak-Chun Wai, your heads are so much up your respective arses that when you guys speak it cures your constipation with mounds of verbal diarrohea.

Get a life you slimy ground hugging vermin and try to do some good for society rather than your curent insignificant existence.

Geez, we have all sorts in this world !!

Just views said...

whitelight59,
As lazarus said earlier,the choice of words used in your comment certainly is one of the main reasons why bloggers can just dream of ever being part of the media.(new or old)
And btw what makes you think that no one but yourself (as you've implied are doing something significant to mankind!!)

Mr. Smith said...

Bloggers became a reckoning force by default.
If the mainstream media had stood by its proclaimed ideals, bloggers would be a redundancy.
It was fortunate that our MSM lost all its credibility and the people had to turn to the internet for alternative information.
Bloggers filled the void created by the MSM.
If the MSM does what it is supposed to do in a democracy, blogging may lose its luster.

Whitelight59 said...

Justviews - nothing wrong with my choice of words and I stand by my post. Fitted the purpose and intention of my post.

You state - "And btw what makes you think that no one but yourself (as you've implied are doing something significant to mankind!!)"

How did you read that into my post - "no one but yourself". Can I suggest you review your basis for reaching conclusions after reading posts.

And btw have a nice day.