Thursday, October 21, 2010

How Ministers Should Behave

Hantu Laut

Every time a blogger wrote something that made someone in authority unhappy the police or other enforcement agency are called upon to investigate.

Investigation would come with harassment and confiscation of the blogger's computer and in some cases charges brought against the blogger concerned.

The recent case of Datuk Ahiruddin Atan or popularly known as Rocky Bru, who fell foul of Minister of Information,Communication and Culture Datuk Seri Rais Yatim where the minister lodged reports to the MCMC and the Police over an article that insinuated nepotism in his Ministry in the giving away of contracts reeks of nothing less than abuse of power to intimidate bloggers.

There are other channels to deal with such matters as far as defamation or libel is concerned.Our constitutional rights should not be trampled upon merely because a minister has the power to do so.

Such action of the minister makes Malaysia look like a police state where one can't speak out against wrongdoings in government.The minister made no distinction between the law and the use of political power where our state of freedom came under siege because he is allowed to use arbitrary power to cow his victim.Such use of absolutist power by ministers should not be allowed unless it is of national security.

There are proper procedures to deal with cases of libel.

The minister should have first warned Rocky Bru by giving him notice to retract his article and apologise failing which he would institute legal action against him.If Rocky refused and the minister is certain he has done no wrong he can than proceed with legal action.

Ministers should not be afraid, unless they have guilty conscience, to go to court to clear their names.They should take a leaf from the book of former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh.

Rocky being a seasoned journalist and blogger would know what in store for him if the story he published is not true.The danger of using third party source is always there.Responsibility is on the blogger to check his facts before exposing himself to the dangers of stories of libelous intent.

The Prime Minister should take note of this and that he would lose more of the pro-government bloggers to the other side as what had happened to former Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi when he took the
blogosphere lightly, dismissing them as nuisance and bunch of crackpots.

It is true there are bloggers who write nonsense and could not care less about facts,fictions and factoids, simply writing to attract attention and traffic to their blogs.Such bloggers should be ignored and they would eventually self destruct. There are also many bloggers who write responsibly and contribute good ideas for the government to consider.

With the high penetration of Internet in this country do not underestimate the power and influence of the blogging the proverbial 'pen mightier than the sword'...... they can sway opinion.


eddy said...

Well said Bro, the best comment on the issue I read so far in the blogs.

Purple Haze said...

Your desciption of the due process is spot on. If the writer does not retract, then there are avenues to take legal action against untrue statements and it should be proven in a court of law.

By using the MCMC & Police, it seems like more intimidation than resolution.

Similar case of another blogger who made certain statements implicating a national leader and his wife. Also did not take the court route as you proposed.