Articles, Opinions & Views: Anti-fake news law is another attack on all of us - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

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He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Anti-fake news law is another attack on all of us - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Malaysiakini : "The actions of the two reporters may have hurt the feelings of the people but I was satisfied that they did not intend to offend anyone. It was an act of sheer ignorance." - Attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail
COMMENT | Here is an example of the fabrication and dissemination of fake news and how the Umno hegemon deals with it. Eight years ago, journalists from the Al-Islam magazine went undercover in the Catholic Church, took Holy Communion and then spat out the communion wafers, the photos of which they published in their magazine. Why did they do this? Because they heard “reports” that the church was converting Muslims.
How did the Umno state deal with these purveyors of fake news? They did not do anything. Charges were dropped and the magazine apologised for any distress caused. “The journalists said they had found no evidence of the illegal conversion of Muslims.” And what of the press? How does the Umno hegemon handle fake news when it comes from the press? Well, this what a self-defined Umno’s mouthpiece said of the role of the media six years ago in a forum - “In our style of writing, we have facts, spin and one more - blatant lies. From the point of psychological warfare, let’s not follow ‘blatant lies’, let’s not write lies. Spin we can; no matter how we spin a certain fact to be biased in our favour, that’s okay,” said Utusan Malaysia editor Mohd Zaini Hassan.
Fellow forum panellist, meanwhile, used Islam to justify deceptions against the opposition. Umno young ulama secretariat Fathul Bari Mat Jahaya rationalised this by “citing how Prophet Muhammad had used deception to fight his enemy.” I have been getting calls and messages asking me what I thought about this proposed anti-fake news bill. I just do not see the big deal. What this proposed bill does is makes it easier for the Umno state to control the narrative, scare the crap out of some people and allow for a certain amount of hand-wringing by a certain section of the general public.
The greater danger that the government made into law was the National Security Council (NSC) Act, but not many people showed any interest in that. This proposed bill is just another in a long line of clumsy efforts by a government in jeopardy because of its ineptitude and pecuniary scandals. What the Umno state has done is just another attempt to define what is fake. They do this with religion. They do this with race. They do this with myriad other issues and policies that affect us as a society. This is nothing new.
In fact, I do not think that this has much to do with the press in the boarder sense. I think this proposed bill is aimed at the average citizen. To restrict the flow of information. To stop people from using social media to ferment and encourage dissent. People spread crap that they know is false all the time and when it comes to partisan politics, there is a whole lot of horse manure to spread around. What this bill is supposed to do is put the fear of god into people so they would think twice about disseminating news that they think will get them into trouble. So, if it something that puts the government in a bad light even if it’s true, people would think that they would be a target of state intervention.
And you know what, they could be with this new law. Indeed, the state does not need this law to put its boot on the neck of anyone it wants to. This is Fear Tactics 101.
Will the people be cowed?
How many times has Malaysiakini been raided? How many times have opposition political personalities sued the mainstream media for libel and won? How many times has the establishment sued alternative media outlets for libel and won? There has always been a somewhat robust application of laws that restricts certain kinds of speeches and the usual state clampdown on what it perceives as “fake news”. The quote that opens this piece was used to justify non-intervention. But there have been some cases where people have been found guilty of spreading fake news in Malaysia, two come to mind:
1. “A former religious teacher and a housewife who disseminated fake news via their Facebook account regarding the halal and non-halal frozen meat, which were purportedly found stored together in a container, were fined RM2,000 each by the Sessions Court today.”
2. A teacher has become the first person in Malaysia to be charged in court for spreading false information through WhatsApp.
“Rafeah Buang, 36, pleaded not guilty before judge Awang Krisnada Awang Mahmud at the Tawau Sessions Court today on a charge of knowingly making and initiating false communications via WhatsApp with the intention of annoying others three years ago.” Does it make me a traitor to freedom of speech because I think they got what they deserved? Probably. The real reason for this proposed bill is to make the average citizen reconsider what he or she is spreading around. This is all about self-censorship and how the state literally wants you to enforce its definition of what fake news is.
But why act surprised? There are many partisans in the alternative media who want to silence dissenting views and they want certain media outlets of their choice to enforce this or they threaten to cancel their subscriptions. The real question, is will people be cowed? Will news organisations cave in to the threats from the state – and by news organisations I mean, organisations that do not have the protection of the state?
Ultimately, what this proposed bill does is demonstrate how weak the government is. After all, there are numerous laws in play – restrictive laws – that the government could use to silence dissent. What this law attempts to do is make the average citizen of this country complicit in their own subjugation.
I do not know about anyone else, but I am going to continue doing what I do, and the Umno state will continue doing what it does.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 11:01 AM  
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