Thursday, May 15, 2008

You blog, you pay

A blogger is facing prison. Well, this may not seem as super new news, except that he is not Chinese, or Burmese (do they even have blogs?); he's Malaysian.

The blogging community there is very lively, and their situation very special. You see, in the great Malaysian "democracy" the press, TV, radio etc is under a very tight leash; I was there during their elections last March, and reading the newspapers was a little surreal. Pure propaganda. But Internet remains free, because in 1999 the governement wanted to surf on the new tech wave and attract Internet investors in the country, so they had to promise not to practice their censorship talent on the web. As a result, a wave of bloggers swamped the internet landscape in Malaysia and it became the only place where you can have any alternative analysis on politics - it's online that you'll find the one and only good newspaper in the country.

But Kuala Lumpur retains a whole bunch of laws as a inheritance of periods of political instability that they did not bother scraping down; that's why Raja Petra Kamaruddin is facing a three year prison term. His trial will start October 6th...

If you're interested in Malaysian blogger community, this site is one of the tool they have created to organize themselves.

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