Monday, November 12, 2007

A Note On Comments

I have had to reject comments posted on this blog more frequently in recent times. I would like to explain why with the hope that those of you who have not had your comments published will appreciate why this was so and perhaps see how you can have your viewpoint published.

I do not have any difficulty with publishing views critical of me or of my own points of view. I welcome such criticism as it is crucial for the development of any discussion on any subject. I do not believe that it is only my point of view that is correct to the exclusion of all other points of view.

Having said that, I will not entertain any comment whose author does not appear to have any respect for the subject of discussion or the art of discussion. Though I do not expect any of these authors, or those who share their perspectives, to respect me, I do expect that they will respect the readers of this blog and the laws of this country. I have therefore rejected, and will continue to reject, comments that are racist, inflammatory without substantiation, contain hate speech, sexist, obscene, contain profanity and so on. I have also rejected, and will continue to reject, comments that state facts without verification.

I do not need to be called 'Keling' or invited to an execution or face the rubbishing of persons of any ethnic or religious backgrounds regardless to understand a point of view. If you are going to be insulting, then do so in an intellectual manner and, if you have the courage to do so, put your name to the insult. I would be more than happy to hear from you and to share your views with the readers of this blog.

I am not concerned that other blogs or sites have shown a willingness to publish such comments. While I advocate free expression and would defend your right to express yourselves, I do not see such comments as advancing the freedom of expression. I do not see the rejection of such comments as undermining the same freedom. State your point of view constructively, be as aggressive as you want, respect others, and I will publish your comment.

For those of you who feel that comments were unreasonably rejected, please e-mail me at projectmalaysia@arc.net.my.

If any of you have views on this note, I would be glad to hear from you.

MIS

11 comments:

Laksarian said...

Its pretty simple really, just draft a disclaimer with specific rules on what not to do and display it on a spot which is easy to see. Point to it if you have to. Tell them that action will be taken to those who break the disclaimer.

If they start whining and bitching about getting their comments deleted, tell them that the disclaimer has made it clear what would happen and it is their choice to violate it. Therefore they cannot blame you when you take action against them.

If they pull the freedom of speech bull, tell them they are not in Malaysia or Amercica. They are in your blog, which is technically your "property" and you make the rules here. Our laws do not apply here. There is no freedom of speech here in your blog, only your disclaimer.

If they bitch some more, simply tell them that if they don't like the rules here, they are always free to leave and start their own blog where they can create their own rules. I realize this will make you sound like a certain racist minister (aren't they all?), but they have to understand that posting here is a privilege, not a right.

As the admin, it is certainly within your power to revoke that privilege as you see fit. It's a different scenario when compared to the real world.

Hope this helps.

Satya said...

Dear MIS,

Not so much a comment as a question.

To my knowledge, quote-unquote liberal democracies, traditionally restrict free speech/expression in cases of slander/libel, hate speech, and general cases where such speech/expression could cause physical harm (a classic example: shouting, "FIRE! FIRE!" in a crowded place and causing a panic when there's actually no fire).

But what exactly constitutes hate speech? How is it different from merely offending people? What is the threshold of offence that must be crossed before something is considered hate speech?

Consequently, if you were on a commission to ammend the current Malaysian Constitution, what sort of limits would you set to free speech/expression?

Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

now this is bordering on hypocrisy.

and FIRST!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Malik. I admire your courage and your determination to make this country a better place. I'm amazed that you are able keep your cool and maintain your composure when people write really nasty things about you.

It is really sad when people resort to name calling an insults as a means of getting back at someone. I suppose that is the only way they know of getting back, as they are not able to have an intellectual discussion.

Deep down inside they know that there is truth in what you are saying but refuse to accept the fact...

Don't let them get to you!!

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said...

Dear Satya,

thanks for the question. Wikipedia has a good definition which also links to a range of legislation that allows for a comparative understanding.

There is no need to amend the Constitution. Article 10 allows for legislation that encroaches into the right of assembly to preserve public order. This encroachment must however be necessary for democracy. There are sufficient provisions in the Penal Code that allow for prosecution of those who publish hate speech.

As for the comment by Anon at 9.41, I do not understand what your point is. Could you explain yourself?

MIS

Anonymous said...

Sharing
=======
Rules are easy to write
but not easy to get it right
unless with illustration
to tell one why!

Some comment should be deleted
if it could mislead
or offensive to read.
A comment besides the author
could help as a reminder
so for his/her improvement
and a society be in betterment.

Every one need some kind of mirror!
and should care to advise
and grateful for being advised
so help the society be wise!

Let every encounter a search for light
and not for a flight!
I hope people coming here, delight!
Excuse me, if I am not right!

BobSam said...

MIS
Agree with ur sentiment. It gets rather painful to read when people scream profanities.
I m curious though on the comment of hate speech.
Isnt any discourse which arouses hatred to a group of people on the basis of their race, belief, sexual preference, etc. and will result in the audience committing vigilante acts against those people mentioned in the hate speech be deemed illegal. I find it has been the accepted norm in Malaysia to deem "Hate Speech" as something we have to live with as some of the content may be protected by the constitution as it may refer to special privileges or rights.

yc said...

I would suggest proper email validation for commentaries, and using trackbacks.

This way, you can increase credibility of people who comments/trackbacks, and reduce trolls that uses anonymity to destroy and otherwise interesting discussion.

I just feel that if these commentators' opinions is noteworthy, they won't mind disclosing their own identity.

dave said...

I think you have every right to reject comments posted by irresponsible people. Nobody can deny you, your right, because the blog is registered under your name.

This reminds me of AlJazeera where you defended yourself beautifully. You did not get rattled nor felt hot around your collar to butt in nor show your body language when you were opposed by Nazri and Khairy. I can’t say the same for these worthy gentlemen. They behaved like sour losers. Your cool and unperturbed disposition was great. Particularly the smile when Nazri was spinning something. So you have this ability to give and take. Congratulations.

There are certain norms any commentator will have to follow. It is not just “hantam”, but have some decency when you comment. Foul or as I would put it as “language of the gutters” is not allowed. This brings me to the subject “moles” in our midst, planted by you know who, out to discredit anything good done. These moles can be encountered with their own medicine, i.e. filth, and you would be surprised there will be no replies. So ignoring them is the best. They are just “scum of the gutters” Let them not get any satisfaction.

Sareen said...

Well said! The interview was excellent and keep it up.

Sareen

Anonymous said...

I would have thought 'keling ' are well accepted in the malay vocabulary - there's masjid keling, tanjung keling, keling karam, telinga keling etc. Its all in the mind no?