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4/15/2006

boon yang clarified: MDA to put up No U turn signs

We have waited for the clarification after Balaji spoke. And MDA or Boon Yang has explained. In his measured email to a journalist Sue Ann Chia, he carefully laid out the rules and the rationale behind MDA. What amounts to is that all the U turn signs have been taken down and new No U turn signs will be put up. Blogs or forums that are deemed to have been clearly political would be notified to register. That makes the situation so much clearer. That also speaks well of the govt's willingness to engage the people, explain its policies and be transparent about them. Maybe we were expecting too much for Balaji or any govt official to respond directly in the forum or in YPAP forum when posed the question. The official media has been an unlevel playing field with advantage strongly in favour of the govt. I hope they don't waste time trying to defend this position. In the case of forums and blogs, it is also unlevel, but strongly against the govt if it intends to. There are several good reasons for this. First, the forumers and bloggers can be anonymous. Now, no govt official is going to respond to an anonymous writer. Two, forumers and bloggers can inflame, scandalise, make sweeping statements without justifications. And three, they can use the full vocabulary of vulgarities and throw them at whoever they pleased. So, agreed, it is not fair and one cannot expect govt officials to engage in an anonymous forum or blog. But they can come in using terms like MDA officer or its equivalent. What is good now is that we can continue to post, and seriously, until such time when we receive a notification to register. Let me quote Boon Yang: 'We encourage the free flow of information and exchange of views within our political system. However, for political debates and discourse to be constructive and taken seriously, people have to take responsibility for what they say and should not remain anonymous. Facts must be ascertainable and arguments examined.' On the part of anonymity, I disagree. The forumers here, though anonymous, are mostly responsible. And their views are serious. It is not a truth to claim that a forumer who uses a name will be truthful and responsible. If there is a need to, many of us here will readily furnish our names to MDA without hesitation. We are using a nick for convenience as this is after all cyberspace.

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