There is a crux in Malaysia regarding the state of affairs that relate to the local government and local bloggers. It seems that Malaysia tends to put a lot of effort into cracking down on political bloggers due to the critical nature of their posts. If it isn’t politically aligned newspapers suing bloggers, it’s bloggers being arrested for charges that are still unclear.
Now of course, the Malaysian government plans to put into effect laws that allows the police to detain bloggers if they are suspected of “seditious” and “hateful” posts that would upset the “harmony of the country”. One of which is the Internal Security Act (ISA), which much like the old laws during times of communist threats and the new anti-terrorism laws in the states, gives them the right to hold you without counsel or visitation rights for a very long time.
Of course, no blogger in their right mind would like that. The torture of not blogging for more than a couple of days itself is enough to break a person. So I’ve compiled a small guide to remind bloggers big and small what you can do to make sure you don’t get tangled in the messy web that is going to send you to jail. While this works for bloggers in Malaysia who face this problem, it works well too for people all over the world.
Edrei’s Guide To Not Having Your Ass Kicked By The Law For Blogging
- Use Common Sense:
I don’t really have to stress this enough. If you’re going to blog about how dumb the government is, how to take drugs or how your current partner is the sweetest thing in the world. Don’t use names unless you’re willing to face up to the consequences. Or better yet, don’t do it unless you have a damn good reason for it. The only thing worse than waking up in the middle of the night by men in black suits come to take you away for what you wrote on your blog is having them ask for the phone number of your sweetie so that they can go out with them while you rot your ass in jail.
- Use Facts Not Emotions:
Yes, you might hate people for what they do, but unless it’s a late breaking story or you know things that other people don’t. There is no reason for you to blog about it, especially with commentary that crosses the line between witty sarcasm (which apparently the government is “good” at picking up) and direct insults (which the government is very good at picking up). If you’re going to be picked up anyway, you might as well have information that can be held accountable in a court of law. “You’re all bloody idiots” isn’t exactly admissible evidence in your defence.
- Be Far Far Away:
The easiest solution is definitely the most obvious one. Don’t be in the country when you’re writing about it. They can’t get you if you’re not in the country to begin with. More likely than not, they’ll ignore you all the same dismissing you as someone who doesn’t know a thing about Malaysia because you’re not in it. Failing that of course is to use servers that aren’t located in the country to begin with. Legal jurisdiction stops across borders. Some countries still have very strict privacy laws to stop that sort of riff raff from coming in and messing up the whole vibe.
- Be a Comment Nazi:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if this is any reason to monitor your comments like a hawk on the last morsel of food, this would be it. While most people hate the idea of putting their comments under constant “moderation until approved”, if you’re not on your blog 24/7, that might be the best idea. Of course, you cannot have that without at least telling the public that you either reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or that comment do no reflect the ideal of the blogger. Having disclaimers help in a legal sense. Better to police your own comments rather than have the police comment on you.
- Have Friends In High Places:
If you ever get into a spot of trouble with the law, having friends who deal with the law is your best bet of survival. More so if they themselves are sympathetic to blogging or are bloggers. They can get the word out or even get you out. People say lawyers are evil things sent by the devil. Those people probably never have had their ass kicked to jail for blogging.
- Be An Angel:
I’m not really asking you to be good all the time, but at least have the reputation to be nice, both in your blog and in real life. If you got a rebellious uncontrolled streak that’s well documented in your blog, rest assured, they can use that against you. If you’re nice and easily read on your blog, a one off commentary is probably going to leave you with a warning. Or course, if you ever do get brought in by the police. Be sure you’re in your best behaviour. Being cooperative is going to make things easier on you in the long run. Being caught with swearing at the cops with a gun in your back pocket while smoking a joint for charges brought up from your blog isn’t going to bode too well in the image department.
So there we have it. The simple yet effective guide to not having your ass kicked to jail because of your blog. Remember, there is no harm in the freedom of speech, but freedom of speech doesn’t always constitute to freedom to “say whatever you want”. Always use your head and remember for anything that you do, there are always consequences. They can’t touch you if you thought out your actions clearly enough.
That being said, keep expressing your thoughts. That’s what blogs are for and will always be for. Short of a great big firewall, there is no way anyone can stop the onslaught of opinions. After all…what’s a country without the individuals that make it?