Silence as a Tool


Some Asian countries such as Vietnam, China, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines monitor internet use and block critical international sites in a move to silence web dissidents. Political censorship is practised to keep political dissent in check. At the same time, other governments have similar controls moving towards tighter regulation.

In Malaysia, things ‘seem’ to be slightly more rosy. PM Najib recently vowed to abolish the Printing Presses and Publishing Act, and urged his administration to follow through with additional press freedom-related reforms. According to CPJ,  “Najib vowed to dismantle two harsh security-related laws–the Internal Security Act and the Emergency Ordinance–and ease legal restrictions on civil liberties, including the right to assembly, international press reports said. He has also vowed to abolish the Printing Presses and Publications Act so that newspapers do not have to reapply annually for permission to publish. The Home Ministry previously had sole discretion over whether to renew newspapers’ operating licenses, and its often arbitrary decisions could not be legally appealed.”

One can see many comments in popular news portals giving criticisms and comments. Once the wave begins, the other side takes the cue and a heavy exchange of ammunition follows with one press statement after another on the same issue, each refuting what the other had said previously. A good example is the issue about LGE’s son. While I sympathize with the boy and the CM, those responsible must be taken to task.

Of late, I have been silently observing political developments and conclude that the vocal dissent need not necessarily be a reflection of grass root sentiments. We have the meek, the vocal and the downright silent ones.

Not everyone is ballsy to voice their discontent. Even some ballsy ones do so without revealing their true identity. Some ballsy ones may be sharing comments because they are paid to do so.

Of course, the silent majority has a view as well. If you have even half a brain today, it is impossible to remain pro-status quo unless one is either selfish/irresponsible, or evil/immoral.

So how accurate is the scene in cyberspace?

Previously, PR had the lead in defining and influencing public opinion but like what I blogged before here, BN has overtaken them and with the help of expert consultants, seem (note I say ‘seem’ and not ‘are’) to be closing in on Pakatan Rakyat as they are slowly making their presence felt in cyber world with the help of highly paid (by all of us) expert consultants.

Instead of wasting time scolding the status quo via fiery comments, I propose a few steps for us to take that can effect more positive changes.