Major Teoh’s Blog

January 24, 2007

Blogging under the sword of Damocles

Filed under: General — Major (Rtd) Teoh @ 9:40 pm

Blogging under the sword of Damocles

Bloggers in Malaysia are now living under a defamation and libel sword of Damocles. Many are awaiting the outcome of this legal tussle, between two Malaysian bloggers and NSTP.

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar has rightly put it when he said, “Blogging on the internet is not immune from legal process. Like other publications on the internet if a blog publishes defamatory material the blogger responsible for the publication, and even the host of the blog, can be subjected to defamation proceedings.”

We are not demanding for a 007 James Bond type of license to defame and libel. All what we are asking is not stifle and impede the development of free speech.

We are asking for a little corner where we can have our say; a chance to debate on political issues and the right to dissent without any intimidation. Though some comments may be more than a bitter pill to swallow, it is should be tolerated.

The internet should be viewed as a huge soapbox like in Hyde Park where anybody can stand on it and say whatever they like without pain and hinderance from any quarter. Some of the things uttered are far from the truth; some literary gems and some are utter rubbish. All these should be taken with a pinch of the proverbial salt.

Therefore visiting the internet is like a visit to the speaker’s corner at Hyde Park where you have a choice to stay, to believe and lastly to leave. There is no question of compulsion, none of your feathers ruffled and, by the end of the day, no one is the wiser.

This is the approach that should be taken if we want our youths to think out of the box like what some of our politicians are advocating. We must give them this space to sharpen their oratory skills. How can they think out of the box when you coop them up in one.

Being a responsible corporate entity and one of the leading English newspapers in this region, NSTP should have ignored the whole episode. In fact it should be the champion for the advancement of free speech and not a hindrance to it.

NSTP should not “latar” each time someone “cuik” NSTP at its ribs.

Just sharing.


Major (Rtd) Teoh


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