Friday, December 5, 2008

meant to write on this earlier

A couple nights ago, I was watching Al Jazeera to catch Riz Khan's Q&A show (that's Wednesdays at 1400 GMT for you!) specifically because this week's premise was on press and media freedoms in Malaysia. For discretionary purposes, I will assume that you, the Informed Reader, would have an idea of the main elephant in the room, a certain archaic law, if you will.

The guests of the all too brief show were pretty much representative of the population, with the main emphasis on Raja Petra as the headliner. All in all, I felt that this was a landmark moment for Malaysia, not just in the sense of actually allowing this segment to be aired in the first place, but for Malaysians themselves criticizing and assessing the "nternal ecurity ct" publicly and on an internationally televised platform. After all, in the press freedom index, we fall well within the bottom half, nestled with more dictatorial African regimes. So, yes, I was on the edge of my seat.

However it wasn't to last for long. Al Jazeera unfortunately has a tendency of ending their main news segments over time, so instead of getting half an hour of Riz Khan we only got a piddling 20 minutes. There was, however, a call-in from a certain minister who "justified" the perpetual implementation of the you know what for "terrorism fighting and general societal security" (cough bullshit cough). Well, it had to happen anyway.

So for those of you who didn't catch the live show on Wednesday night, here's the interview.

So do I detect winds of change? I'm optimistic. I have faith in the intelligence and goodwill of the public (well, sort of. I understand a lot of it's misplaced.) And the internet is nothing if not the greatest equalizer of an educated and democratic society, so we'll always have that. I just hope our higher powers will get with the program.

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