Cyber space and citizen reporting, a new frontier!
It is time I revisited this thread after all the excitement in the press. I mean the Malaysian press. Cyberspace is now the new battle field between Mahathir and Badawi as the official press is, as always will be, one sided. In the blogs and columns, it was reported that hits can go as high as 1.2 million a day for Malaysia Today! The key advantage of cyberspace news is that it is uncensored and immediate. In a sense, no holds bar. And the official media has, in its traditional way, encouraged the growth and flourishing of cybernet news. To quote Raja Petra Kamaruddin, a well known political activist, he said, 'As long (as) as there is no real free speech, blogs will be popular.' Let's return to home ground and see whether the situation is similar. For several days after the Mr Brown incident, when cyberspace was invaded by highly charged bloggers and forummers on the issue, there was a complete silence in the official media. It was a hot topic , but the official press, for their own reasons, thought it was better not to say anything about it. There goes the reason for more interests in cyberspace, when the news that the people are interested are being reported. Look at today's Straits Times. It has a glowing report on citizen reporting and how fast this media is gaining ground and acceptance as the most effective and popular means of communication and news dissemination. It devoted 5 and a half pages on this new trend. But sadly, nothing much was said about the local blogosphere and forum activities except for a small factual reference to Mr Brown's case, with no comments. But I think two full pages were devoted to promote Stomp and why it is popular with news like road accidents, windows falling off, and prizes for taking pictures of litters around mail boxes, foreign car number plates sighted in Singapore. I can't imagine what sensible and serious forumers find in such bits and pieces of rubbish around HDB blocks? And did they report on anything about the local citizen reporting scene? Did they mention any blogs or forums that are attracting the bloggers and forummers? What is the reason for not mentioning the names of popular local blogs and forums? At least Zaobao did a survey once and listed the names of popular blogs and forums for all to see, and to visit. As long as official media, often correctly associated with official views and mindset, continues its traditional way, more and more people will flock to cyberspace to hear more refreshing and relevant news.