The Racist Hydra
“This person has a dangerous mind and needs to be traced. He must be stopped.”
Racists lurking again in the internet. Some will get caught, others will get away, but KKK wannabes will always be around, that is a fact. It is perhaps becoming some sort of game of cat and mouse. Racists will continue to snarl, but sometimes ignoring them is the best way, denying them of the attention they crave. Today’s recent report walks a tightrope balance of narrating about supposed racism in the internet but yet did not give details. I don’t see it as sloppy reporting. It is controversially responsible reporting instead. Why give the racist something he or she wants by putting his blog contents and URL in the limelight, even though Google has shut it down.
With the new laws in place like Penal Code section 298A, I wonder whether it would be a good deterrence. A few people were prosecuted before under the Sedition Act for racist postings but it is not going to stop racism online. Frankly, taking the extreme example, if death sentences cannot deter drug trafficking via/in Singapore, I doubt the new laws to deal with racists can be anything more than symbolic of the government’ further commitment to be firm about racism in multi-racial Singapore.
What can we bloggers do about racism in the internet instead of remaining silent and shrugging our shoulders? Speak up and criticise the blogger in his comment box, don’t mention its URL when we blog about it, or even flag in to Google.
Racist blogs taken offline
Tuesday • September 25, 2007
TWO blogs featuring racist comments have been blocked about a week after the authorities were alerted.
Peppered with vulgarities, the postings carried derogatory remarks about Muslims in Singapore. One blog was created in August and the other earlier this month. Both were apparently created by the same person — a Singapore-based male student, if the user profile on both blogs was to be believed.
Hosted on Google’s Blogger site, both blogs were taken offline last week for violating the host’s “terms of service”. Just before they were blocked, the sites registered more than 140 hits in total.
Trainee teacher Tanveer Khan stumbled across the blogs on Sept 9. The 32-year-old immediately emailed an alert to the Media Development Authority (MDA).
Three days later, he received a reply that the police were looking into the matter. The blogs were blocked on Sept 18 and 20, respectively.
When contacted, a Google spokesperson told Today: “When we are notified of the existence of content that violates our Terms of Service, we act quickly to review it and determine whether it violates these policies.
“If we determine that it does, we will remove it immediately.”
The spokesperson added: “Blogger prohibits certain kinds of content from being hosted on its servers.”
More details on specific content that violates the company’s policies are at http://www.blogger.com/content.g.
In response to queries, the Ministry of Home Affairs said: “The Government has always maintained a strong stance against activities that could disrupt our racial and religious harmony and will not hesitate to take action against those who attempt to do so.”
It added: “The Police does not patrol the Internet because it is not practicable to do so. However, when warranted, the Police will inquire and investigate conduct on the Net based on specific intelligence received or information from complaints.”
While such inflammatory sites should not be allowed to exist, Hong Kah GRC Member of Parliament Zaqy Mohamad agreed that it was impossible to monitor everything on the Web.
But Mr Tanveer told Today: “This person has a dangerous mind and needs to be traced. He must be stopped.”
With the proposed changes to the Penal Code tabled last week in Parliament, a person convicted of causing racial and religious disharmony can be jailed up to three years or fined, or both. The Bill is up for debate next month.
Said Mr Zaqy: “If the blogger is found guilty, then I will leave it to the court to decide the punishment. I don’t think there should be an exception in this case.“