Just read this at Malaysiakini (subscription required).

On April 5th, the National Alliance of Bloggers was born and a pro-tem committee was set up.

Some excerpts of the article:

Rather than fading into oblivion in the wake of the ‘attacks’ from the powers-that-be, bloggers here have banded together to form an association – the National Alliance of Bloggers.

Ahirudin said the alliance was not formed merely on the impulse to protect themselves from the authorities’ hostility.

He said while some bloggers often tell ‘painful truths’ about those in power, they have yet to come under siege as a whole.

The alliance could also serve the positive aim of promoting blogging and improving its members’ skills and knowledge through training and educational programmes, he added.

The bloggers, who agreed unanimously to the proposal, set up a pro-tem committee that would oversee the write-up of a constitution and registration of the alliance with the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

These are the heads and council members of the alliance:

This was the result of a recent proposal by Malaysia’s Deputy Energy, Water and Communications Minister Shaziman Abu Mansor to make mandatory the registration of bloggers, a move Malaysian bloggers believe will only stifle the local blogosphere and increase hostility among those who blog, and those who are being blogged about.

Most of Malaysia’s mainstream-media are government controlled or owned, and because our ex Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir has promised not to censor the Internet, cyberspace has become a hotspot for those who wish to report – and read – real news.

A video of the report shows Rocky listing the reasons for the Alliance:

  • to promote blogging (setting the record straight about the different bloggers out there to, say, the government)
  • to protect bloggers (mostly on legalities)

Thoughts on such an Alliance: I think unity is necessary where the territory is unchartered, and such is the blogging environment in Malaysia. Having a physical group of people, people who are well-known and respected in the media and other industries, people who are heard and read all over the world, is at least a substantial stumbling block for a government that can suddenly change its stance on free speech on the Net tomorrow.

Questions: How will setting up such an Alliance help change or drive policy? How can the Alliance help with problems such as cyber-bullying, which is bound to happen as blogs become a mainstream source of info and news for our country?

Thoughts, anyone?