IT'S impossible not to visit the various blogs anymore. Last weekend's march and street demonstration have compelled many to resort to visiting blogs to get news update which are not available from mainstream outlets such as radio and television.
From the hospital bed where my son was warded, I could see the traffic jam caused by the closure of several roads as the Police mounted road blocks, diverting traffic away from Dataran Merdeka where the crowd was supposed to have converged.
Friends were also forwarding text messages reminding each other to avoid certain routes. The telcos must have made tons of money, I thought to myself. And when friends alerted each other of long footage on Al Jazeera, woh, you can guess what happened next.
I wouldn't exactly agree with the way Al Jazeera covered the march. The station covered the more dramatic side of the event, showing how the Police had used water canons to disperse the crowd. If I'm overseas, I'd probably think that KL was on riot mode, and probably try catch the first flight back home.
I wasn't sure if the radio stations had given hourly bulletins of the march. I won't hazard a guess but I believe that keeping the public informed would have been a priority, given the possibillity that the march could get out of control. It's not as much as giving nationwide publicity to the march organisers, but more to alert the public against any potential danger.
When the public had to depend on sms, phone calls and Al Jazeera for updates, one begins to wonder where is the public service in public-owned radio stations? And TV too! And what if irresponsible elements were to spread ugly rumours...?
When May 13 broke out in 1969, Radio Malaysia was about the only source of news breaks. But they did well, alerting the public about the curfew that came soon after. Radio Malaysia did the responsible thing then. I remember staying glued to the old hand-me-down Grundig as my body trembled at the sight of flames from nearby Kg Kerinchi roads.
With information dissemination the way it is now, it's no longer possible to curb news flows. It's also irresponsible. In trying to win the intellectual battle, the authorities should do the right thing, unless they no longer care about their credibility.
One blog had 54 pictures of the Saturday march. Compare this with one Sunday newspaper which showed one picture of the massive traffic jam in KL. And then there's a prominent member of the Cabinet on world TV explaining his views with broken English. Painful, painful...
At the end of the day, one needs more than just the blogs, Al Jazeera and the dailies to get every information they want. But when the normal channel of information are not forthcoming, then you can't blame the public for sourcing their news and updates elsewhere. Agreed?