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Media & Publishing

In the dying days of the parliament dominated by Malaysia's now disgraced prime minister Najib Razak and those close to him the government passed its Anti-Fake News Act 2018. Its stated aims were sensible but in a country where the government had regularly arrested and held without trial those who expressed opinions contrary to those of or critical of the government and the ruling United Malay National Organisation (UMNO), its true purpose was widely regarded as a tool to further suppress legitimate dissent. Its repeal was an election promise that has been kept.

Editorial Staff
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Ironically, the new-found press freedoms (which have not been backed by changes in legislation) have demonstrated a problem. The media, which has long had oppressive control foisted on it has learned self-censorship drawn far inside boundaries in countries with greater press freedom. Now the problem is this: domestically trained journos don't know where boundaries should be. So when an application was granted for restrictions on reporting matters subject to charges against former PM Najib Razak, there's mistaken outrage.

Editorial Staff
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In general, newspapers have taken the view that if people sit in the pub, read headlines and/or articles and then discuss them that the content of that discussion is entirely outside the responsibility of the newspaper. That has been tempered with laws, rules and regulations that cover inflammatory content of one kind or another but so long as the original article stays within the lines of the permissible (no matter how close it comes), the view has held pretty much intact for generations. But if the article is on the internet and the discussion is not within a handful of people muttering into their beer but is available to the...

Editorial Staff
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Not long ago, it's hours not even a day, a man drove, at high-speed a rented van along pavements and up streets in the face of incoming traffic in Toronto, Canada.The man has been arrested and is in custody. He has been named as Alek Minassian, aged 26. Whatever Minassian's motive, one thing is clear: publicity was inevitable because the choice of weapon, the fact that it's in Canada and the fact that it took place only a few kilometres from a G7 ministers meeting convened to discuss developments in terrorism and counter-terrorism. Media has provided blanket coverage around the world. It's time to think about that.

Nigel Morris-Co...
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For much of the past two weeks, BBC News has heavily featured criticism of British Labour Party and Prime Ministerial hopeful Jeremy Corbyn. The criticism has been orchestrated by some British Jews who claim that he, and some of his party, are, in their words, "anti-Semitic." The primary concern is not the treatment of Jews in the UK, but Corbyn's long and loud protests against Israel's behaviour in Palestine. Right-wing, one might argue radical, Jews in the UK are incensed. The BBC willingly provides a megaphone for them. So why has the BBC been almost silent on the subject in the past three days?

Jefferson Galt
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Mark Twain has popular credit for coming up with“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes” but he didn't think it up: that was Virgil in The Ænid translated by H Rushton Fairclough, he wrote "Forthwith Rumour runs through Libya's great cities, rumour of all evils the most swift, Speed lends her strength and she wins vigour as she goes, small at first, soon she mounts up to heaven and walks the ground with head hidden in the clouds." That, research shows, is exactly what happens on Twitter...

Editorial Staff
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The entire premise of Web 2.0 was that access to content (and content services) would be free for users and that the value of web-based businesses depended on the nebulous concept of "eyeballs" and how "sticky" they could be made to be. The theory was that advertisers would flock to the busiest websites and that money could be made for click-through adverts (or adverts paid-for according to the number of times it was displayed). It was always a bad model, relying as it did on fickle "traffic" And the situation has become ever worse as those eyeballs have become harder to attract and even harder to both retain and make return.

Peter Lee
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Today, FoxNews carries an article about badly behaved tourists being arrested during a pub crawl in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and a raucous pool party, some being accused of having pornographic images on their phones taken while participants, clothed, were "demonstrating" a variety of sex acts and positions in a villa rented for the night. But that's not the story that matters: what's important are the comments that appear, including comments that carry political messages that have no direct relation to the story, demonstrating that low-level trolling is at least as important as the bots attacking major social media websites.

Editorial Staff
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Rappler is one of the most successful news websites in The Philippines and it has reported stories critical of the government and of President Rodrigo Duterte in particular. Even so, it was a surprise when it was informed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that its company registration had been revoked in what Rappler calls a "kill order."

CoNet Administrator
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Facebook is a distribution channel for child pornography but it's young Danes who are being prosecuted after Facebook identified the material, told US authorities who reported the distribution to the police in Denmark.

Editorial Staff
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