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Government

How should bloggers be classified?

According to a report in Malaysian national news agency Bernama, Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin wants to classify bloggers as professionals and non-professionals as a means to prevent misuse of blogs."This classification will also facilitate the action to be taken against those found to have violated the country's laws," he said during a press conference.
Written by Edwin Yapp, Contributor on

According to a report in Malaysian national news agency Bernama, Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin wants to classify bloggers as professionals and non-professionals as a means to prevent misuse of blogs.

"This classification will also facilitate the action to be taken against those found to have violated the country's laws," he said during a press conference.

The story said that Zainuddin considers professional bloggers as those who were "more responsible in ensuring that their Web content was based on the truth, and not rumours".

It doesn't say how he or his department plans to vet the hundreds (and possibly thousands) of Malaysian blogs that are on the Web. Neither does it say how he plans to control them since many bloggers are anonymous.

I suspect it's because he has no clue. It's clear he doesn't understand blogs and how they work. He thinks of them as entities that can be controlled, like mainstream media--TV, radio and newspapers--which require government license, that has to be renewed yearly, to operate.

This license can be taken away any time if the government deems a particular media outlet has fallen out of line.

How do you do this with blogs, most of which are not commercial entities? Quite often, you don't even know who the bloggers actually are.

Of course the more famous ones like Jeff Ooi are traceable because he doesn't hide behind anonymity, but he's one of the rare few.

Most local bloggers don't want to be known. They just want to share their views.

The blogging phenomenon is still not huge in Malaysia but it's picking up momentum. This will pose a greater headache for the likes of clueless ministers like Zainuddin.

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