Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Problems? Blame the Blogs

That is what the Malaysian government is doing apparently. Malaysia's Information Minister has warned newspapers (and by extension citizens) against using blogs as sources of information. According to the Star newspaper, Minister Zainuddin Maidin described blogs as "anarchist websites" and said most websites are run by frustrated journalists and political pundits.

Governments, companies and politicians worldwide are having difficulty adjusting to our wired world. The Internet disintermediates government and others who have traditionally filtered or rationed information. News oligopolies have ended.

Today, individuals can easily and instantaneously project their ideas, opinions and reporting out to the world. It can be a painful experience, as the Malaysian government discovered when allegations of corruption appeared in blogs and were later picked up by mainstream media.

Instant, unfiltered access to information is good. Yet, people still have a responsibility to assess (and question) the credibility of sources -- whether they are blogs or government-controlled media.

It's hard to lose control, and easy to scapegoat bloggers, as I noted here in connection with a company targeting a widely read blog.

As with most things, however, the fault lies not in our blogs but in ourselves.

Categories: Malaysia, blogging


zridling said...

Excellent points. Blogs are far more likely to be unfettered by the coercion (or persuasion) of money, and need not worry about offending advertisers. Advertisers on blogs either don't care about the politics — they want to go where the viewers are — or they already agree with the blog's views.

Same goes for tech. I don't respect a single tech writer for newspapers out there. I know there are some good ones, but even the best are a distant second to the expertise you find in blogs.

Jeff Kaplan said...

Thanks for your thoughts.

Unfortunately, their unaffiliated nature can also make them easy targets for people looking to lay blame.

It is amazing how much expertise is out there and now, via Internet, right at our fingertips.