Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom: Digital Speech in Malaysia
Asian Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2006
Posted: 27 Jul 2006
The thesis of this paper is that in some societies blogs are beginning to act as a force for democratization and perform the role of being an alternative form of media. Blogging amplifies the cultural and participatory elements of free speech by enabling more people to take part in the spread of ideas and the dissemination of information. By publishing online, bloggers not only route around prohibitive financial hurdles to media production but also overcome some laws that restrict freedom of expression. This essay focuses on a Malaysian case study of bloggers who are now a formidable force in disseminating information and promoting a democratic culture in the country despite laws that restrict free speech in the country. This essay also reflects on the salient lessons gleaned from the Malaysian experience which might be relevant to the project of constructing a successful blogging scene in the Middle East and other authoritarian or soft-authoritarian regimes.
Keywords: free speech, Internet, Asia, democracy, blogs, culture
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