As a member of the organising committee for Bloggers Universe Malaysia 2009 (BUM 2009) dialogue, in conjunction with World Press Freedom Day, I shared chairperson Desiderata YL Chong’s concern that we may not be able to fill in the limited 200-seat capacity at Subang’s Lake View Club yesterday. This was especially with the Man U vs Arsenal match being telecast live on TV at about the same time. But our fears quickly dissipated with the arrival of our special ‘surprise’ guest, popular blogger and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir (TDM) a.k.a. Che Det (photo, right) and the national press corps turning out in full force.
Aside from pushing for his crooked bridge to Singapore again, among other things TDM spoke about in his 30-minute speech was the fact that during his long tenure as PM, he never imposed censorship on the mainstream media (MSM) or curtailed press freedom. He suggested that perhaps the MSM practised self-censorship because it tried to ‘second guess’ what government leaders want.
Read reports from Malaysiakini, here and The Malaysian Insider, here. On the other hand, perhaps as a measure or indication of this ‘self-censorship’ he was talking about, I couldnt find anything about our event in today’s NST or the Star online.
P.S: TDM also admitted at a press conference later that he has stopped reading the NST, so perhaps this is something we do have in common.