I refer to the malaysiakini report Seditious posting: Will cops 'haul up' PM?
I find it amusing that the prime minister's website had a posting which was seditious enough to make the DAP file a police report in the same manner that Umno filed a police report against 'Malaysia Today'. Will the PM or his underlings argue that they 'cannot be responsible for what is posted on their website'?
Will the PM or his underlings be requested to go to Bukit Aman to spend eight hours answering questions like whether they know who the poster was? Or will the PM or his underlings be treated like Nathaniel Tan and be kept in a lock-up for four days just because something appeared on their website which was not really their doing?
If the answer is 'No' to all these questions, then my question is whether the PM is above the law?
Maybe now the powers-that-be will come to understand that on a public website, it is not always easy to detect undesirable messages. Such messages are not posted by the owner of the website so why must he be treated like a criminal?
I think that if there is any sort of action needed for bloggers, it would be to introduce a requirement of 'first notification' on an objectionable or defamatory message posted by the public on their blog or website.
If so notified either by a government authority or by an aggrieved party, they would then be required to remove the message if there is justification or to state why they are allowing it. They would not be liable up to that point and there should not be any harassment like being summoned to Bukit Aman let alone being locked up.
If they choose not to remove the message, then they have to take responsibility for any action taken against them (which means they have to ascertain for themselves the truth of any accusations made and be confident that they are backing a factual accusation).
This would be fair, I think, and make bloggers and website owners more responsible without taking away freedom of speech. Right now, bloggers will claim that they are not responsible for messages but they do have the power to delete them so they should learn to use that power and not be irresponsible.
If the powers-that-be cannot agree to this, then I hope they will not say that what appeared on the PM's website was 'unfortunate' and 'beyond their control' but since the message has been removed upon being identified, the matter need not be discussed any longer. There must not be double standards.