The UMNO-BN government reached a sober assessment during a meeting last week involving several Cabinet ministers and senior government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, that it could all end in tears for the Barisan Nasional at the next general election if tough action is not taken to counter allegations on the Net and hold owners of blogs accountable.
Several ministers noted that if the government followed its current policy of allowing allegations by bloggers to go unchallenged, this would create the perception that the information being posted is accurate.
After decades of being able to control newspapers and television stations through a raft of legislation, government officials and politicians are finding that their tools are useless in setting boundaries for new media.
The BN underestimated the power of the Internet and committed a serious misjudgment by relying on the mainstream media in the run-up to the general election. (This) resulted in the Information Ministry reaching out to some prominent bloggers and giving them some air-time on television.
But by and large the relationship between the alternative media and the government has remained testy.
Supporters in Umno have been pushing for a more hardnosed approach in dealing with bloggers and operators of news portals, arguing that the softer touch by the Abdullah administration has resulted in daily attacks on ministers and BN politicians.
Critics of the government said that instead of focusing on bloggers and the alternative media, they should strive for more accountability and transparency, and remove the shackles on the mainstream media.
MEANWHILE in the US ..........................................
US POLITICS: BLOGGERS Credentialed at 2008 Democratic Convention
Read here article in Christian Science Monitor and here in PC-World website
Bloggers in the Big Tent, a temporary structure set up in Denver
(Photo courtesy of Christian Science Monitor)
Denver – The “Big Tent” for bloggers at 1536 Wynkoop St. marks a fault line between NEW and OLD media covering the Democratic National Convention.
“The traditional media do a lot of things wrong. We want them to do things correctly. We want them to do their job,” says Markos Moulitsas, founder of the blog Daily Kos, which claims some 1.5 million unique hits a month.
The 8,000-square-foot “tent” is two stories of reinforced canvas packed with tables, chairs, plugs, screens, wiring, bad lighting, and a critical mass of overstuffed, worn-through comfy couches and pillows.
Of the 3,000 bloggers who requested credentials for the Big Tent, 500 were granted.
Most are liberal or progressive blogs, but Big Tent organizers said they tried for diversity: The conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington was offered two credentials for bloggers, for instance, but took only one.
The DNC this year expanded the number of invitees in the online community, including national, political, niche, and video bloggers. This year, 120 got floor credentials.
The officially credentialed bloggers aren’t installed plunk in the middle of the convention floor, as is CNN, or in sky boxes with the TV crews, but they do have cordoned-off areas off the floor with desks, chairs, and plugs (no fluffy couches).
But wherever bloggers sit, they are a presence at this convention as never before.
“We’re seeing how incredibly powerful it is to assemble the networks and the globosphere. It literally has its own gravitational pull, there are so many millions of readers,” says Dan Mahoney, who blogs on YourHub.com in Denver.
Big Tent organizers say they are also getting calls from politicians and others eager to gain Netroots exposure.
Daily Kos’s Mr. Moulitsas says it doesn’t matter in the end whether bloggers sit on the convention floor or away from it.
For bloggers “to get together, it’s affirming,” he says. “We [usually] work in isolation – it’s not like a newsroom where you’re working with your colleagues. We’re in isolation and every once in awhile we get to come together and share in a big experience, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It feels part of a broader movement and we need that affirmation.”
The Democratic Party says it has granted press credentials to around 120 bloggers.
The increased presence of the bloggers is interesting for a few reasons.
The first is the immediacy we've come to expect of coverage of events like the one happening here; many of the bloggers will be blogging in real time from the floor of the convention center.
Also, many of the bloggers are either one-man shows or small, independent "citizen journalism" pubs that may portray the convention in a very different way than larger "establishment" media outlets.
The growing number of bloggers underlines the need for massive amounts of broadband connectivity here. The volume of wired and wireless calls, e-mails, instant messaging, text messages, blogs and video that will eminate from the Pepsi Center and INVESCO Field is expected to be massive.
Qwest, the official voice and data provider of the DNC, says it added an additional 2,600 data lines and 3,400 voice circuits to support all that digital traffic from both the Pepsi Center and INVESCO Field, where Obama is expected to accept the nomination.
Bloggers and other media people will have access to a total of 5,500 voice and data lines, Qwest says. Infrastructure-wise, Qwest says it ran an additional 3,344 miles of single strands of fiber and 140 miles of single strands of copper and coaxial cable in preparation for the convention.