Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
on July 19, 2010 11:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBacks (0)
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1. When we appointed an International Advisory Panel of prominent IT personalities from around the world, we gave a guarantee that Malaysia would not censor the Internet.

2. We thought at that time that even if we wanted to, we couldn't. The technology was not available for us to do this. And so Malaysiakini and other sites flourished.

3. Now that I have retired I feel glad that we made the decision not to censor. I have benefited much from the blogs as have very many bloggers. There may be a few who have abused this blogging privilege but by and large it has served the public well. The mainstream media in Malaysia need no censoring as they censor themselves. So the blogs can report what really happens. It can be the alternative source of news. And there is a need for this other source for the mainstream media will always be guarding their behind.

4. I had always assumed that the Western press is free. Certainly they have never been in any way constrained when writing about the third world including Malaysia.

5. Now, I know better. Robert Fisk, one of the great Western journalists has revealed that when writing about their own countries and about the West in general they adhere to official sources and use clich├ęs which masked the truth. They too indulge in self-censoring. I recommend that everyone interested in the so-called freedom of the press should read his book - The Age of The Warrior.

6. Press freedom is supposed to be an essential part of the practice of Western Democracy. The assumption is that with press freedom truth will prevail. But the freedom is also about telling lies, about promoting evil agendas, demonizing individuals, twisting facts, hounding people to death and all other kinds of evil.

7. The Internet has now given not just journalists but given just about anyone the same capacities to tell the truth, to lie and twist facts and do all the good and evil things. There is no censoring the Internet.

8. But I am concerned about the dissemination of pornographic material. I am concerned because there can be no doubt that sex related crimes are more common today due to the easily excitable young having access to filthy pornographic material. Sexual immorality among youths is more common today than ever before.

9. Something has to be done to the Internet's promotion of immorality. The world community should agree that the promotion of pornography via the Internet should be stopped. Failing this Malaysia should censor all pornographic material on the Internet, guarantees notwithstanding.

10. It is possible to do this now and it should be done. It will not be 100% successful but it will prevent easy access at least. Moral decay should not be allowed to be promoted. Certainly moral decay should not be speeded up via the Internet.

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