Sunday, March 30, 2008

Northeast Malaysia Forum - Premesh Chandran

Am copying my live blogging posts from ReCom.

I am keeping it as it is, although there are some grammatical error, due to live blogging. This is my first live blogging, so quality is not good, but hopefully, can share the info to those who are interested to read.
Northeast Malaysia Forum is happening tonight (i.e. now).

This will be my live blogging from Malaysiakini office here.

Premesh Chandran is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Malaysiakini. He would be our first speaker.

Full details, do go to Northeast Malaysia Forum's Website . There will be live blogging there too! It will be live blogging from Harvard University.

Currently, there are about 120 Malaysians gathering at Harvard University. There will be another group of Malaysians, who will be linking in from Singapore, eg: Yi Jian, Jiin Joo etc.

Do stay tuned here.

It is starting...

Premesh Chandran is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Malaysiakini. He would be our first speaker.

Premesh just talked about 5 of them in Malaysiakini shaved bald after opposition won quite a number of seats.

Nithiya is doing introduction over at Harvard University. And now Joyce Tagal is giving her speech.

Mark Chang, Founder and CEO of JobStreet is here too. He would be our 2nd speaker.

Stay tuned here for the live blogging...

Premesh is about to start now. Premesh greets his virtual participants. Nice and warm in KL, and cold in US.

He thanked for the invite. He introduced Mark Chang. He would be speaking on New Media.

Premesh expects everyone to know Malaysiakini. He says that if people do not read Mkini, they should. This should be taking off.

Prime Minister statement the other day, on why BN lost, one of PM's comment is not taking cognizant of the internet, was his biggest mistake. Premesh stresses on this.

He commented on the bad internet connectivity. Urban area has better internet, but voting heartland of the country, Pahang, Johor, Kelantan, Terengganu, still does not have much internet there. So, PM does not realize on this new media.

Only 20-30% of our population uses internet. So, this does not show impact of internet. Mostly focused on the urban. So, BN did not discuss issues raised on internet, and this led to the downfall of BN in several states. Internet is where a lot of people gather info. Info spreaded indirectly to a huger segments to other parts of country - video, vcd, email, blog, forum.

Prof Janet Steel was in Malaysia. Her host in Malaysia asked a cleaner video. And she watched a video of temple destruction via vcd. Premesh stressed that those images were captured by ,and then copied on vcd and spread nationwide. As well as other contents. And Premesh stressed that is a critical point. And this can get spread far and wide.

Internet credibility has grown. Malaysiakini was founded in 1999. In 1999, impact was not much. Then in 2004, Jeff Ooi blogged with some exposure via Malaysiakini space. As well as Raja Petra blog, which reached out to a lot of people. Premesh talked about Khairy chronicle via Raja Petra, and while not all might be true, it impacted KJ's reputation and caused KJ to have to take a lot of blames in this recent GE.

Malaysiakini has been around, publishing stories day after day. Mainstream media has to move itself to follow Malaysiakini's pace.

Some of the aspects highlighted by Raja Petra, for instance of PM's marriage, well ahead of it. And eventually, it turned out to be true.

NST filed a suit against Jeff Ooi and also Rockybru. New Media has a wider impact to a larger scope.

With videos, people get to see a lot of videos, from Hindraf to other occurances and that caused people to see things first hand. And soon, people are going to use internet to watch via mobile phone. Televisions going to hook up to internet.

With the results of this GE, there will be more internet start ups, and shifting the focus to internet. Internet is here to stay and going to have bigger impact.

And also the use of social networking. Facebook is used by Selangor State Government, DAP etc. This has been used in GE. This is going to play a major role.

Malaysiakini is getting about 250,000 unique users a day. There is now an extra server, and serves 50,000 video downloads a day. There will be opening up of traditional media. The Star and NST has started covering of opposition news. Mkini now have to further compete with traditional media which has reformed.

Q: Relationship between Malaysiakini and bloggers.
A: Malaysiakini is collaborating with bloggers and in Mkini front page, it is devoted to bloggers for a good section. And pull bloggers in and this is showing a lot of opinion on people blogging about various issues.

Now politics have moved from federal to state politics. Esp. with opposition holding several states. Mkini plans to have an office in Penang too. And this will feed into Malaysiakini too.

Q: Mainstream - pro government and bloggers - anti government
A: It is not totally the case. NST is owned by UMNO. Star is owned by MCA. Mainsteam is political tool. Unless Printing Acts are repealed, there is no way to bring away from this. Media Prima is owned by Umno etc.

There are bloggers who are pro-UMNO, but they are not getting traffic. This is because they are saying same thing as mainstream.

So, Premesh's opinion is not that bloggers want to anti-government. So, would hope to see more convergent between mainstream and bloggers.

Q: How to control the blogs
A: Premesh said it is wrong question to ask. Newspaper is read by 100,000 people each day, and it needs to be correct and can't be lying. Blog read by much fewer people. It is not the freedom of speech, but freedom of influence. And we should manage the influence.

Blogs have been policed, and hence the comment in blogs which contained potential inflammatory posts can be found.

Premesh stressed that it is the failure of mainstream media that caused blogging to thrive.

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