Sunday, May 4, 2008

MSM Coverage of BUM2008

The BUM2008 Organising Committee thinks it's Worthwhile for Bloggers to Engage the Fourth Estate! Some 20 members of the mainstream media attended the Bloggers Universe Malaysia Gathering. It's a New Landscape out there at the Fourth Estate vis-a-vis interacting with the Fifth Estate, and such discourse and conversation will only contribute to a Better Malaysia ~~ Desi

Saturday May 3, 2008
Bloggers organise discourse to network and brainstorm

BLOGGERS are here to stay. Relegated once to the insignificant list, the latest shift in the political arena has redefined their presence and given them the due recognition.

As a testimony to their emerging influence, a special discourse was held recently featuring several personalities from the blogging world, media and academics. More than 150 bloggers and non-bloggers attended the Bloggers Universe Malaysia (BUM) 2006, a half-day discourse at the Lake View Club.

Themed Towards A Civil Society, BUM 2008 was organised by a group of bloggers in their individual capacities in association with the Centre for Policy Initiatives.
Journalist and blogger: National Alliance of Bloggers president Ahirudin Attan @ Rockybru questioned whether self-censorship would be imposed on blogs and online news.

“This event is an avenue for people to come together to network and brainstorm with leading members in specialised areas, in light of the tremendous changes in the political landscape and even media field,” said BUM 2008 organising committee chairman YL Chong @ Desi.

“We need to engage each other, whether those from the fourth estate (mainstream media) or fifth estate (new media).

“A blog is merely a channel; the brainpower behind it determines its quality and contest so the cyberworld can accept it,” said Desi, stressing that newcomers in blogging need to know their core strengths and specialise in that area in their blogs.

The talk's afternoon session featured National Alliance of Bloggers (NAB) president Ahirudin Attan @ Rockybru, ex-judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid, academician Dr Azmi Sharom, Centre for Policy Inititatives director Dr Lim Teck Ghee and journalist Jacqueline Ann Surin speaking on the topic Fostering Civil Society - Various Voices.

The evening session, entitled The Fifth Estate (Bloggers) As Agency For Change, featured laywer-cum-MP William Leong, human rights advocate Haris Ibrahim, journalist R. Nadeswaran and blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin.

Rockybru outlined the possible challenges for blogging and the civil society, and questioned whether self-censorship would be imposed on blogs and online news.

On an ideal civil society, he said: “If the judiciary and media aren't free, it won't create the civil society we're hoping for.”

Dr Lim paid tribute to the community of political bloggers who have provided important information, analysis and feedback on key issues taking place in the country.

He said the impact of bloggers could be seen in the results of the recent general election.

Syed Ahmad pointed out that “civil society” had two meanings. “Firstly that such society comprises voluntary civic and social organisations as opposed to the force-backed structure of a state.

“The second meaning is that civil society is the 'third sector' as distinct from the Government and the Business,” he said.

“But be warned. 'A regime in which only civil society existed would be a regime of anarchy', hence the requirement for law and order or government regulations whereby the conduct of the population is maintained for the greater good of the majority.”

Dr Azmi said one could be within society and make a change.

“My students were excited after the recent election. For the first time, young people saw that their vote made a difference and that it mattered.

Paying tribute: Centre for Policy Inititatives director Dr Lim Teck Ghee speaking at the discourse.

He said the internet could provide an alternative to the mainstream media.

Surin focused on blogging becoming an alternative source of news and guidelines for posting comments on blogs, citing, the site she created with two journalists to cover the recent general election.

“News publishing doesn't belong to major establishments anymore. As a result of shift in power, there is a higher level of participation in newsmaking, thus creating a more vibrant democracy,” she said.

Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, who is also a blogger and a guest at the event, said it was good to see that bloggers were given the recognition they deserved.

“I hope this trend continues to grow and that bloggers become a force to be reckoned with,” he said.

A blogger who wanted to be identified as Shanghai Fish said BUM 2008 was a good way to meet and socialise with fellow bloggers, while getting new input from the speakers.

“As a blogger, I don't write anything I don't take full responsibility for. Everything that I've posted was done with a clear and honest conscience,” said the NAB member.

The above article & photo taken from the Star

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