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Malaysian political bloggers form alliance

Malaysian online political commentators have formed the National Alliance of Bloggers', a group to protect bloggers' interests and to try to get the government to see their point of view. The new group's president, Ahirudin Attan, wrote on his popular blog that about 50 of Malaysia's popular online personalities held a meeting and decided to start the organization because a few bloggers were being "demonized again and again" by the government, Ahirudin said. "If the politicians do not want to take the effort to learn about blogging and to understand bloggers, I believe the bloggers will have to take that initiative."

Ahirudin and Jeff Ooi, his deputy in the alliance, are being sued by the government-linked New Straits Times newspaper, which alleges that the two men made defamatory postings about the paper on their sites. The government has also said it may consider registering bloggers to control anonymous posts with "malicious content" (meaning criticism of the government, or discussions on race or religion — sensitive matters in the multiethnic, Muslim-majority country). Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said bloggers have made the "business of government more challenging. Some merely inform, others argue a point of view, and a few simply distort and sensationalize."

News source: MSNBC

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