BLOGGERS should provide more in-depth writing to encourage critical thinking among readers, seasoned blogger and online editor Fathi Aris Omar said.“Most blogs are opinionated and personal.“Not many provide insights or reveal new things to encourage critical and analytical thinking among the masses,” he said.Fathi said although such sites might appeal to some, they did not provide opportunity for an intellectual discourse on the issues.
He added that it was time bloggers went beyond the surface as the blogsphere played a role in shaping one’s opinion.
“Most feature nothing new and sometimes they are not even updated.
“The only new thing about it is the technology itself – not the content,” he said.
He added that being bombarded with such information would cause readers to stop reading and shift to something new.
Fathi was speaking at the Bloggers Universe Malaysia (BUM) 2009, a special discourse organised by a group of bloggers in association with the Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI).
Held in Subang Jaya on Saturday, BUM 2009 was the third organised since 2007.
Themed “4th and 5th Estates – On Collision Course?”, BUM 2009 brought bloggers, mainstream media representatives, politicians and academicians together to discuss relevant topics, especially on the issues of the new media (5th estate) vs mainstream media (4th estate) and their influence in the local political arena.
The highlight of the event was the presence of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is a blogger himself.
He gave a half-hour talk and spent another half hour fielding questions from the floor.
Also present was BUM 2009 organising committee chairman Y.L. Chong.
Mahathir acknowledged the importance of the new media as an alternative source of information and news for the masses, and a platform for the masses to voice their opinion.
However, he called on bloggers to be responsible in what they wrote online and to come up with a standardised code of ethics.
Meanwhile, lawyer Fahri Azzat said some people only visited blogs that reinforced their opinion, rather than find out the whole story.
“Sometimes, the contents are only relevant at that particular moment,” he pointed out.
Art Harun, a lawyer who is also a blogger, said accountability and transparency also applied to bloggers, and reminded bloggers to be mindful of the rights of others as bloggers were not above the law,
BUM 2009 started with the topic “The Media: Civil Society’s Perspectives” featuring CPI director Dr Lim Teck Ghee, civil society activist Dr K.J. John, lawyer Philip Koh and lawyer-blogger Art Harun.
A Bahasa Malaysia session was included for the first time.
The afternoon session, chaired by Helen Ang, focused on the topic Bagaimanakah Media Baru boleh menggalakkan pemikiran kritis masyarakat? (How can the new media encourage critical thinking among the community?), and featured Faisal Mustaffa, special aide to a DAP MP, Fathi Aris Omar and Fahri Azzat.