Congratulations to my Malaysian blogging compatriots on the launch of the National Alliance of Bloggers!
Bloggers in Malaysia held the event at the National Press Club, Kuala Lumpur on April 5th. This Alliance (NAB) was formed from a gathering of key individuals within the Bloggers United movement in Malaysia.
Sophie wonders if Singaporean bloggers could set up a similar club or chapter of the NAB. She also implies that creating such an “institution” would give more clout to Singaporean bloggers in cases of future lawsuits. My response is simply “not a good idea”. It’s more trouble than it’s worth. There are two main reasons:
a) Most bloggers in Singapore would want to create or join a club with a formalised status, given the political and social environment in Singapore for online expression. It’s easier to blog individually or anonymously about socio-political issues.
b) Quite a few of the NAB members/bloggers are actively involved in civil society groups, are journalists or members of political organisations or parties. They have other things to back them up or help them stand on. This is quite a far cry from Singaporean bloggers (and bloggers in Singapore), where civil society is practically non-existent, where there are strict and sophisticated forms of online control, where there is political apathy and fear about speaking up about issues that could be construed as political, and where the political masters of the country (and anyone else in authority) can sue the pants off anyone – and usually win. I simply don’t see how bloggers can be protected in Singapore unless there are significant changes in the law and in the governing mindset.