Thursday, January 27, 2011

The lemming mentality

28 January 2011
Opinion by KI-Media

Association with KI-Media is anathema

Yesterday, an anonymous reader pointed us to an article posted in a Khmer blog discussing about Cambodian leaders ordering the installation of a sign that offended Thailand, as well as their subsequent order to remove and smash that sign following Thailand’s demand.

Finding this “public” article quite interesting and since its author did not mention anything about NOT reproducing his article, we decided to reproduce it integrally on KI-Media with the proper credit given to its author. Apparently, the article was picked by a high ranking ruling party official who did not like the tone of that article at all, so the official decided to comment on it on his Facebook wall.

That comment spooked the article’s author who demanded that KI-Media removed his article from our website – which we gladly complied – and he went to pledge his allegiance to the government and all institutions that be in Cambodia. While we understand the author’s concerns for his own safety, what happened puzzled us immensely.

A movement to ban KI-Media from any free blogging host?

It turned out that, yesterday, KI-Media completed our mirror on – a free blog host similar to the one we currently use ( Coincidentally, Wordpress is also the same host used by the author we described above.

It so happened also that last week, somebody in the Cambodian government ordered several ISPs in Cambodia to block all websites hosted by, most likely in a mistaken attempt to block KI-Media from being accessible in Cambodia. Unfortunately, blogspot is used by quite a larger number of Cambodians and its blocking caused a major public outcry. Subsequently, Cambodian government officials had to backtrack and deny that any blocking took place. An ISP executive went on to deny the blocking by his company even when his employees clearly stated otherwise to the press.

While some ISPs have lifted the blocking on blogspot, a few still refuse to do so as we speak. In view of this situation, we decided to revisit our blog on Wordpress which we have registered 4 or 5 years ago in order to make use of it as a mirror to our regular blog.

Upon learning about our mirror on Wordpress, in his message of allegiance to the government and his agreement to block KI-Media by the government, the author whom we described above even went on to suggest that all bloggers should issue a declaration to chase KI-Media out of Wordpress – for the wellbeing of these bloggers.

While we perfectly understand his concerns for his personal safety, what puzzle us are the following facts:
  1. Why this author fail to remove his article that ticked off a government official?
  2. The author believed that KI-Media posted his “integral” article for our own political gain. Now, as far as we know, we are not seeking any political seat or position in Cambodia, so how could KI-Media make any political gain?
  3. Why is this author entitled to make any criticism on the ineptitude of government officials while others, like KI-Media, are not allowed to?
  4. Why is this author supporting the suppression of freedom of expression (read Internet blocking) for others than himself?
  5. Why is he entitled to be the only one to use free blogging host?
  6. Why did he turn his outrage on government Internet blocking against KI-Media, a victim of this blocking? Isn’t that tantamount to being angry with the oxen and starting to beat the innocent cart?
Lemming mentality

In fact, we would like to point out to this author that his action to support the blocking of KI-Media and his call to chase KI-Media out of the public blogging system clearly highlights the despotic and autocratic regime that currently exists in Cambodia. In true democracy, no such blocking or suppression of freedom of expression is tolerated. His declaration of allegiance to the government is akin to that of a lemming mentality as depicted in the video below, or more specifically that of blinds leading blinds. How could such mentality be construed as constructive criticism?


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