Sure, Mahathir’s boys have placed bloggers on par with the old media (here). yes, bloggers are admitted to the International conference on ‘Expose War Cries – criminalise War” in Kuala Lumpur recently. Coz, things have changed for Mahathir you know since the day before Oct 31, 2003.
He can’t get a red carpet treatment anymore from the existing and thriving MSMs. Naturally, he and his boys would turn to blogs, and the Internet which he introduced some time back. All ex-power figures would. There would be different when they are on the stage of authority and power, though.
But remember what he said about lawsuits and blogs: Mahathir says govt can act against bloggers ( here). Power corrupts absolutely.
And sure, he would give Malaysiakini exclusive interviews again and again and again. Malaysiakini waited six years before the man could give them the time of day.
During one of those six years, he even called Malaysiakini journalists ‘traitors’ on national TV. I was a traitor then, but now that I am a blogger, and would carry his views when others black him out, what am I?
And for the publicity all these politicians get on Malaysiakini, the application for print by the online newspaper is still gathering dust and moss on the table of the Home Minister.
Sometimes, I wonder why Malaysiakini even bothers to apply for such a license. A license that exists simply to make the press toe the line.
If one believes in freedom of press, and that press should not be regulated, why waste time applying and giving the license more recognition than it should?
Anyway, according to IFEX, “In Malaysia, the draconian Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984, which requires all publications to obtain licenses that can be revoked at will by the Minister for Home Affairs, remains a major obstacle to the full exercise of freedom of expression and the press. The minister’s decisions to ban newspapers are final, and there is no judicial review”.
Mahathir made it to CPJ‘s list of “ten worst enemies of the press”.
For all his rantings and ravings and bruhaha now about George Bush in the latest War conference in KL, he did support the President on his war against terrorism, and had considered having good relationship with the US. ( here).
He admitted his mistake though, but its a little too late. The gruesome pictures of abuses his shows during the conference are a results of such mistakes made by governments all over the world when they threw their support behind Bush.
I guess I do not forget easily.