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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents by Reporters without Borders

In many countries like mine, the press are not free and subject to harsh rules and regulations. In mine, the newspapers need to renew their publishing licence every year, and it can be taken away anytime. For survival, the journalists have to practice self censorship. It has been relaxed very slightly in my country, but the draconian publication rules are still there. There are many political blogs which publish news that never appear in the daily newspaper and are accused (often falsely in my opinion) as spreading rumours and unsubstantiated news. However, quite often, what was published in the blogs which were initially denied by the authorities or by the person referred to often eventually turned out to be true. For example, a Malaysian political blog said the recently widowed Prime Minister was going to get remarried, and it was denied. Eventually, the Prime Minister did really got remarried. Also, bloggers who accuse political figures, high ranking police officers, head of Anti-corruption agencies are dismissed as unfounded, but the accused never take the step of suing the bloggers to clear his/her name (those are not anonymous blogs).

Are you a political blogger publishing posts that exposing faults of governments, corruptions, etc.? If you do it with your name and profile public and make no attempts at covering your tracks, you will have to be careful, check accuracy of your information and source reliability, etc., but the blog will be more credible. However, if you are not careful, you may expose yourself to law suits, possible jailing and so on.

Some may still still want to blog about misdoing, etc., but want to look after their own skin. If you are one of them, perhaps this downloadable PDF book Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents from Reporters without borders can help you blog anonymous and to get round censorship. It will also help you set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.

I myself have not read the book as I am not a political blogger (I don't have access to good, reliable information) and can't comment much, but Reporters without borders have a good reputation and I think it will be a good read. In my case, the only posts that I have made that might be considered "political" are
Candlelight vigil for Revathi (and for Malaysia),

Candlelight vigil for Revathi (and for Malaysia) Part 2,

Unity threatened by continuing infringements of religious freedom booklet and

Flag of Malaysia and flag of United States of America, and these are in a blog that is actually meant to promote Malaysia and which I do not really want to publish in that blog. However, concerns for the direction my country is taking override my reluctance.

Update 20 July 2007: If you want to see what some are up against, have a look at Flag of Malaysia and flag of United States of America (refer to the update in red at the bottom of the post) and Malaysian blogger says his detention aimed at scaring government critics.


  1. I ve just added your link to my blog, check it out

  2. Hi Stanley,

    Thanks for the link. I have comment in your blog with more information, hoping you will act on it.

    Peter (Blog*Star)
    Blogger Tips and Tricks


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