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Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Selepas Tsunami" and the futility of old school suppression

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Image taken from DNA pamphlet, image hosting by Photobucket A few days ago in Sibu, the police seized 243 copies of Selepas Tsunami, a documentary by Anna Har, produced for Komas. The seizure was made on grounds that the documentary was suspected to be seditious – that popular catch-all allegation when no other valid grounds can be found.

Police seized 200 video compact discs (VCDs) with the title "Selepas Tsunami" (After the Tsunami) in a 4pm raid at house in Jalan Bruang here Tuesday.

Sarawak CID chief SAC II Huzir Mohamed said the VCDs contained contents in the Iban language and were of a seditious nature.

He said police believed the VCDs had been brought in large numbers to Sibu for distribution at longhouses around here in the run up to the Sibu by-election on Sunday.

"We also seized a number of campaign pamphlets along with the VCDs. Investigation are ongoing to trace the parties responsible for bringing in the VCDs and the case is being investigation under the Election Offences and Sedition acts," he told a press conference here.
(source: Bernama - May 12, 2010)

According to an e-mail from Anna, “Next day, the police reverted saying that they have checked it out and its [sic] NOT seditious”, adding that the 243 copies have not been returned, and are still in the possession of the authorities. This was reported in Malaysiakini’s Bahasa Malaysia portal.

So, what does Komas do? Like a hip media organization would be expected to do, they went ahead and made the entire documentary available online.

And what does Walski do? The obvious thing any concerned blogger would, can, and often does do – disseminate it even further. 
(the documentary in its entirety, and more, in the full post)

So, here it is, in all its suppressed glory, the documentary the authorities (at least the ones in Sibu) don’t want you to see…

Now you can discern for yourself – seditious, or merely being objective?

Like poison ivy rashes that irritate one to no end, objectivity is unfortunately one of those things many people are allergic to. Particularly those who think that the “official” viewpoint is the only valid viewpoint.

Technology has changed the way things work – a simple and obvious concept that the old school practitioners of information gate-keeping apparently still cannot grasp. The VCD seizure in Sibu, and the subsequent online backlash, is the most recent example.

Ignorance, some say, is bliss. So, too, it would seem, is being in denial…

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