Protest Cultures and Digital Dissent: Blogging

The invention of technology has transformed our lives drastically in almost every aspect. It also becomes a very versatile and powerful tool for protest movements in society. As the impact left is so enormous, it has the capability to tailor a new configuration within a society.

Speaking in Malaysia’s context, our country is a democracy, however citizens are lack of freedom of speech and restricted from questioning the Government. In addition, the local mainstream media is strictly regulated by the Government and its interest parties. Hence, the alternative media, specifically blogging, provides a chance for the public to voice out aloud, technically, and share their views on current issues or matters happening in the country. Tan and Ibrahim (2008) adduced that blogging is widely acquired due to its property that lessen the boundaries “between what is public and what is private”. It may seem alarming, but on the bright side, this platform has enabled everyone to be citizen journalist. Citizens are free to express their thoughts without obligations or limitations. It may not be entirely, but the stories and opinions written by these bloggers certainly hold a certain degree of veracity based on the surrounding occurrences.

  Image: MRT

Since the emergence of citizen journalists, critics debated against the “radical” difference between blogging and journalists. (Tan and Ibrahim, 2008) I think this discourse may be the very reason that has led more people to choose blogging as their information source. Mainstream media are under the pressure forced by the Government, whereas bloggers act independently but with risk of law enforcement for offending the Government. (Tan and Ibrahim, 2008) One of the incidents happened was during the beginning of 21st century, when the Internet was still surreal. Malaysiankini, one of the prominent online news portals today, its office was raided by the police with computer equipment seized. (Nain and Wang, 2004)

Currently, the Internet is the only medium free from regulation in Malaysia. Hence, citizens, who blogs for the purpose of speaking the truth, should be responsible towards what is written for not degrading its core value. Knowing our mainstream media is already been held in such situation, we should be more critical in utilizing this platform in a constructive manner, to ensure a better future.

References:

Nain, Z and Wang L. K (2004) ‘Ownership, Control and the Malaysian Media’ in Thomas, P. N & Nain, Z (eds) Who Owns the Media: Global Trends and Local Resistances Southbound, Penang, pp. 249-270.

Tan, J. E and Ibrahim, Z (2008) Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia: A New Civil Society in the Making SIRD, Petaling Jaya