I refer to the malaysiakini report Bloggers may have to reveal identities, which had a deputy minister suggesting that all bloggers register.
I think the cyberspace should be left as it is because registering all bloggers will be a waste of time, is impractical and a move backward. What is to stop a blogger from using a foreign-based server to start a blog? Can you censor overseas websites?
If we look at blog writings about Malaysia, most of them are by bloggers who are young, smart, highly-educated, and mature in thinking. There is a lot of serious discussion and exchange of ideas among bloggers of different opinions.
There is nothing to fear of bloggers if the authority heeds the advice of the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin. In his step No 4 of the seven steps he expounded, he mentioned that we must avoid enforced solutions, and 'might' is not equal to 'right'.
He further mentioned that nation-building requires society to be tolerant, open and forward looking. The wise prince has hit the nail right on its head.
In the process of our nation-building, we need to be tolerant of views of different kinds; we need to be more open to ideas and suggestions which are plentiful in blogs. To censor cyberspace is to drive many of these bloggers underground and we may actually lose a lot of innovative ideas and information from these bloggers.
I don't deny that certain blogs may be spreading lies. But if you care to surf through blogs, these are a very small minority and most readers can differentiate what is true and false. In other words, bloggers can self-regulate.
As long as the government is clean, transparent and practices good governance, there is nothing to fear of bloggers.
Society has changed. People are no longer ignorant and naive. The government needs to be more open to gain the trust of the people. If every politician and government official does his or her job properly, they should not be afraid of bloggers.
Cyberspace, like the press, should be regarded as the fourth branch of the government playing the part of the watchdog. In the West, a lot of political battles are now waged in cyberspace. A lot of new innovations and ideas also come through discussions in cyberspace.
Malaysia is a modern country and comparatively open. We should try to move forward and not engage the reverse gear. By going backwards and using censorship to silence the bloggers, the country will be doing a disservice to itself.