Risen Against Gravity

GenSephyr

I've moved my blog and portfolio to http://fusedthought.com/en/blog. However, this site will still be kept as an archive...

Individual entires can still be accessed using their trackback links.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Strong Signal !!!

Finally, prelim exams are over.
Can take a short break before studying for the main exams -- 'O' levels

I won't say much about my exams. Don't want to put my hopes too high. The higher I put it, the harder I will fall.....

However, something on the news made me sit up.
I guess it should be all round the internet, especially the Singapore blogosphere by now -- I am referring to the court proceedings regarding the few errant bloggers.

For those not familiar, 2, erm make that 3 guys were hauled up to court for passing racist remarks on a forum and blog respectively. It would no doubt be a "wake up" call to many, urging them take care in what they post online. These 3 are being charged under the 'Sedition Act' which was last used/invoked about 10 years ago.

EDIT: A recent news update says that if they are found guilty, they can be jailed for a minimum of 3 years / fined or both.

I don't know these people personally, and all the knowledge I have of them are inferred from newspaper reports. However, with the internet being "public domain", I felt that it was very insensitive of them to post those snide and crude remarks online, especially in a multi-racial society like Singapore.

This incident made many of us think:" should we continue blogging??" All these questions are quite pertinent when many people take to the internet which they felt was "safer" and they were more "untouchable". However, we often forget that laws targeing at "mass media" includes the internet too.

With the strong signal sent across in this case, I wonder how many people have stopped blogging altogether. Already, a few I know stopped this "habit / routine". "Not safe" would be a common answer you find among those who gave up blogging.

Many would argue that the action taken against these people were just too harsh, and we should let the online committee practise self-censorship. However, would this actually work??

To a certain extent, online censorship will work. I mentioned 'to a certain extent" because you can never be 100% sure that every single one of these "inappropriate content" will effectively be censored out. In forums, we don't have people to monitor 24/7.

Moreover, blogs are products of their respective authors and thus would reflect the authors themselves. This is what makes many blogs unique. If the authors were to make a mistake, it would get them into trouble.

Also, we must remember, inapporpriate content to some may not sound inappropriate to others. We all have different degree of tolerance. Thus a "self-censorship" may not work.

In this case, they have to bring these 3 guys to court also because of where they are -- Singapore.
Think: In a society like Singapore, where racial stability is on a delicate balance, a comment like theirs may have disastrous result. (Thank goodness it didn't happen). Taking the severity of their actions in to account, a harsh punishment against them is understandable.

So how?? What can we do? The best thing to do is to take care in what you say, be it online, or offline. I am sure many are careful in what they say on the streets or anywhere offline. We should start applying them online too (if you have not already been doing it).

Especially blogs, make sure you have edited out any undesirable comments before your "click / trigger" happy finger presses the publish button. It may be easy to retract what you say offine compared to what you publish online. Once published online, it is free to the world. It may be archived, kept in a proxy server, search engine etc. making retracting almost impossible.

Know where to draw the fine line between what is within or outside the law. No matter where we are, we are still governed by them. It is a fact we must accept.

(p.s. I have just edited my layout. Made major changes to it especially the menu. Any comments or problems with it please email me at antimatter.jz@gmail.com . Alternatively, you can tag me. Thanks)

1 comment:

Lisa said...

great post. blogging often doesnt seem as safe as i'd like it to be. i always feel i am waiting for something bad to happen.

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