They started with the bloggers

The following item is from Radio Australia and pertains to an effort in Malaysia to enact legislation to control Malaysia’s bloggers. I quote it here to demonstrate the slippery slope of categorizing blogs as “professional” or “journalistic” or, for that matter, on the basis of “authority.”

Quote:

“A senior Malaysian government minister has renewed calls for a tighter monitoring of bloggers…(Despite) Malaysia’s existing wide range of media controls, Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin …is calling for a system that divides bloggers into “professionals” and “non-professionals”. He says it will give readers greater confidence of a blog’s accuracy as it will discourage bloggers who have “an agenda to spread slander”. The minister has also warned the system will help the government pursue bloggers who violate Malaysian law.

In the U.S. (and probably in Malaysia), existing laws govern personal expression (laws related to libel, slander, decency, copyright, hate, privacy, etc.). I don’t believe there is a need to layer upon those laws another matrix of laws regulating which forms of expression (i.e., individual-owned-blog vs. media-company-owned website) deserve varying degrees of protection and freedom. But maybe that’s just my narrow-minded western point-of-view speaking.