Saturday, May 13, 2006

Power sangat ke blog?

Baru-baru ini (24 Mac 2006) seorang pelajar menghubungi saya melalui e-mel, mewawancara saya tentang kenapa saya memblog dan apakah saya bersetuju dengan tanggapan bahawa memblog boleh mencabar atau mengatasi media tradisional.

Saya ragu-ragu. Sejak 10 tahun lalu, terlalu banyak hype dan buzzword dalam dunia IT. Lalu saya menjawab kepada siswi Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) itu, "blog saya tidak berniat untuk mencabar media tradisi."

Lebih tepat, patah demi patah, saya menjawab begini: I don't want to compete. It can never be possible to compete, anyway. A blog is very limited, unlike a newspaper. The best a blogger can do is to provide 'alternative' news and views. Let the curious and broad-minded readers judge themselves. You can never compete with a newspaper. You just simply cannot."

Memang banyak catatan dan laporan media beberapa tahun mutakhir yang menggemparkan kita tentang kehebatan teknologi baru penerbitan IT, misalnya blog atau jenis-jenis penerbitan audio-visual yang lain.

Tetapi buku ini, yang disunting oleh Steven Gan, James Gomez dan Uwe Johannen, Asian Cyberactivism: Freedom of expression and media censorship sering mengganggu saya sampai saat ini.

Sebagai penulis yang aktif dengan dunia web -- sejak era reformasi 1998 hingga turut menyertai pasukan wartawan (1999-2001) dan kemudian sebagai penulis kolumnya (2002-2005), saat ini menyertai pula mStar Online (projek web The Star) -- saya tidak yakin pada teknologi (dan semata-mata teknologi) boleh mencetus banyak perubahan tanpa penyertaan dan perubahan sikap kita sendiri.

Buku Asian Cyberactivism: Freedom of expression and media censorship akan membuktikan panjang lebar banyak kes di serata dunia. Khususnya janji media IT sebagai ruang pendemokrasian, kebebasan maklumat dan ruang orang kecil bersuara. Buku ini seharusnya menggoncang iman kita yang terlalu yakin pada kehebatan teknologi baru ini.


Minggu lepas, pemimpin kanan The Star menulis begini:

We cannot expect complete changes overnight, but the revolution, so to speak, has begun. Maybe gradually, but the pace has been much faster than expected.

The older Malaysian editors may be more cautious, still reluctant to take bolder steps because of their baggage of history, but the young set of journalists would view issues differently.

Brought up in the age of information technology, they have no regard for sacred cows. Laws which are outdated would simply become redundant eventually.

It is like a man who refuses to change his black-and-white television set to a colour one. It would just become useless.

Laws which are regarded as restrictive to the Malaysian media are the same. The tools of information are changing and it is better for the authorities to realise this trend sooner.

After all, a newspaper or other media that is perceived to lack credibility would just lose its readership or viewership eventually. Journalists, too, have to maintain their credibility or they, too, will be ignored. Young Malaysians are spoilt for choice. It is time we wake up.

(Wong Chun Wai, 'Our laws must keep pace with the times', Sunday Star 7 May)

Saya hormat pandangan ini [walau saya tidak tahu berapa ramai teman aktivis saya yang selesa dengan pandangan tersebut] dan seharusnya ia diberikan perhatian oleh pihak berwajib kita, khususnya kementerian dan agensi yang suka melarang itu dan mengharam ini, misalnya Kementerian Hal Ehwal Dalam Negeri (KHEDN).

Tetapi sekali lagi, apakah memang benar teknologi baru -- misalnya blog -- boleh mengatasi media tradisional?


Saya ambil satu kajian kes terkini, berita tentang larangan filem doku Amir Muhammad Lelaki Komunis Terakhir. Kenapa penulis blog tidak berperanan dan memainkan peranan yang aktif dan mendahului media tradisi (dalam kes ini, akhbar harian) yang semacam enggan atau berat untuk melaporkannya?

Hanya ada dua blog yang mendahului media rasmi, pertama Garam Gula (10:40pm) dan kedua blog rasmi Lelaki Komunis Terakhir (lihat catatan kecil Amir, jam 8:59pm di kaki posting ini). Mungkin juga blog ini (2:44pm 6 Mei)

Catatan blog yang lain dikemas kini selepas dan juga The Sun melaporkan perkembangan ini masing-masing pada Sabtu, 6 Mei dan Ahad, 7 Mei.

Daripada himpunan berita dan blog [lihat juga di sini] tentang isu ini yang saya sediakan sepanjang minggu ini (sejak 8 Mei), kita akan perasan bahawa penulis blog sangat bergantung pada media tradisi -- walau ada beberapa pemblog (saya dimaklumkan) telah menerima maklumat pengharaman KHEDN ini lebih awal, lebih dahulu sebelum melaporkannya.

Beberapa wartawan menghubungi saya pada Sabtu dan memaklumkan bahawa mereka mendengar berita ini sejak petang Jumaat dan malam Sabtu lagi!

Apakah yang kita boleh belajar daripada peristiwa ini? Buku Asian Cyberactivism: Freedom of expression and media censorship boleh menjelaskan banyak sisi kehidupan yang relevan tentang teknologi (perkakasan) dengan sisi lembut perkakasan (manusia, kandungan dan perisiannya)


Namun begitu, dalam keadaan media arus perdana malu-malu dan lembab melaporkan peristiwa ini dengan lebih lengkap dan 'garang', blog memang boleh dijadikan tempat mengulas isu ini dan melepaskan geram! Lihat himpunan berita dan catatan blog yang disediakan di bawah.

Inikah sahaja tujuan blog -- tempat maki, mengecam dan mengutuk**? Long live traditional media!

** tentunya tidak semua blog boleh dikategorikan dengan nada ini.


Anonymous said...

NST 13 May 2006 Suraya Al-Attas

Fauzi determined to quit as Finas D-G

WILL he? Will he not? Apparently he will. Fauzi Ayob, it seems, hasn’t changed his mind about resigning as Finas director-general. Industry sources say the post will be vacant beginning Monday.

Fauzi must be the shortest-serving D-G in Finas. He took over from Datuk Shariff Ahmad in November and five months later, on April 5, quit.

No explanation was given for this decision except that he wanted to return to his former duties in the Malaysian External Trade Corporation.

But industry insiders are well aware of the pressure Fauzi has been under since he stepped into Finas. It seems a high-ranking official from the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry had come to regard Finas as a department within the ministry instead of an independent body under it.

For months, talk in the industry has been that Fauzi was fed up of being bossed around by the official and made to feel like a puppet.

Where former D-Gs Datuk Zain Hamzah and Shariff were free to run Finas the way they saw fit, Fauzi has had to get approval from the official before he could proceed with anything.

"Every little thing must go through the official. Fauzi’s hands have been tied since he joined Finas," said an industry observer.

Was Fauzi, whose quiet, dignified demeanour was often mistaken for aloofness, right for the job? He might have been. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to prove it.

endroo G said...

I agree with you, En. Fathi on your comment about:

" memang boleh dijadikan tempat mengulas isu ini dan melepaskan geram!"

If any tom, dick and harry write to the media (paper, TV etc) about their views (which are not in the govt favor), it will probably be "cut out" or omitted from the final publishing due to the fact that govt controls the media.

So we can only turn to blogs and write whatever we want to say.

I think I should encourage the older generation to start embracing blog reading.. so that they can have more different views on current affairs and do their own judgment.

Anonymous said...

Dear Endroo G,

That's true. I agree. Not all bloggers write things emotionally. Some are fair and rational.

But what I am trying to say is that blogs [i.e. general perception] mean personal commentaries or opinions, not "news".

I can understand the fact that bloggers are not journalists.

My point is how do blogs "replace" traditional media in that sense? How can a reader differentiate between an opinionated piece and "hard" facts of news?

If bloggers -- at least some of them -- can do that, that's good. Blogs may challenge the traditional media by providing not perspectives/views only but also the facts.

A lot of sources, investigation and research. Nowadays, all these are not "free" anymore.

That's a tough job.

Note: Even traditional journalists are grappling with such a task (fact-finding or fact-gathering).

Fathi Aris Omar

endroo G said...

En. Fathi,

Most of the bloggers are definitely not journalist. They have their day-time job. If journalists blog it is maybe because there's some of their thoughts just can't be published to the mainstream due to certain obstructions.

However, there's no QC in blogs. I mean, you can get to read inaccurate articles or if lucky, you can get to read proven facts or refreshing ideas. Anyone can write what they want. On how to differentiate opinionated or hard facts, its really subjective. It depends on the knowledge of one reader, the understanding of one reader about the article and research. Yes, research. You gotta do a little research if you are in doubt or not that in agreement of what you read. Then you rap up your own judgment

For a jounalist, of course they have to do the research and fact-finding. If journalist don't get it right, who will get the fact right? Even if the task is hard and no longer "free", they have to furnish the audiences/readers with nothing but facts.

Blogs serves as an alternative frontier for informations of the "other side" of an issue. Things that would never be published in mainstream. You get the idea. With every internet savvy person looking informations they can't get in mainstream, I believe blogs will have a big impact but it will never replace the mainstream. Who will pay for the tedious fact-finding work and researches? Will a blogger risk his life climbing the closed flyover of MRR2 to see its repair work progress ? Or jump into a jeep heading towards a battlefield? Certainly not. But journalist, yes they are. They bring you the latest news. And one more thing, everyone read the newspapers, watched the news on TV, hear the news on radio but only the internet savvy will not only all this but also read blogs. Now which one have a wider reach? Of course the traditional/mainstream media.

My 50 Cent worth of opinion.

PS: By the way, just saw it on CNN that a chap in Egypt held some peaceful protests and blogged something in critisism to the Egypt president or something... and he was jailed. "Free Alaa" . You should check this out, sir.

patahbalekologist said...

Endroo G, terima kasih!