Malaysia: Blogging Code of Ethics?

After much antagonism over blogs in Malaysia, the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, suggested recently that bloggers form their own ethics code to ensure accountability and fairness in their writings. Syed Hamid, who opened the Bloggers Buff 2008 Conference, emphasized the importance of this because most bloggers do not have a journalism background.

The Home Minister, acknowledging that blogging is a “powerful tool” that can influence and shape readers’ perspectives, proposed that the code should not be in the form of entrenched law, but rather a voluntary regulation to be adhered to.

Malaysian bloggers (l-r) Ahiruddin Attan and Jeff Ooi

Malaysian bloggers (l-r) Jeff Ooi & Ahirudin Atan

Syed Hamid was reported to have said:

Blogging is indeed coming of age. These are exciting times and even the king of bloggers (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad is enjoying it.

National Alliance of Bloggers (All-Blogs) protem president and journalist Ahirudin AtanBlogger had this to say on his blog:

I think it is not something that is easy to initiate, let alone accomplish, but I think it's a good thing to have.

Of course, not everyone thought bloggers should do it. One participant said it was akin to taking a step closer towards censoring the blog. On the contrary, I responded. A Code of Ethics would act a set of guidelines on how citizen journalists and citizen media behave.

Ahirudin Atan, who was a panelist at the conference, was reported to have said that said that bloggers should come out with their own code of ethics without interference from the government. Jeff Ooi, Malaysian blogger-turned-politician, and who is also All-Blog protem vice president, was in Indonesia for the Pesta Blogger Event.

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