Sunday, May 17, 2015

Al Jazeera Exposé

I've just finished watching a video by Al Jazeera English. An exposé of the Sedition Act 1948 and how it's being used by the Government to silence those who have the gall to criticise it and its decisions in public. It's an interesting watch, so if you have 29 minutes and would like to have a look, click here to open the Youtube video in a new tab. What I'll be discussing in this post pertains to the video, so it'll make so much more sense if you've watched the video.

While watching the video, I couldn't help but notice how they portrayed Malaysia as a place where everyone in the rakyat were shown to be people who supported the opposition, and that the biggest issue everyone has in their lives is the Sedition Act. Nowhere is it said that, of course, but that's the general feel of it. It was as if Malaysians from Kedah to Johor until Sabah were taking to the streets in protest, and people left right and center were being put in jail for doing just that. When in reality, I'm just chillin' here in my room thinking about what to write on my blog (and sedition laws were certainly not anywhere near the top of my list). You're just there chillin' having a read on your screen. A lot of people in the kampung are just chillin' with their families or friends or whatever, watching Maharaja Lawak or something. A lot of people in the cities are just chillin' blowing shisha smoke while talking about Steven Gerrard (finally) leaving Liverpool. 

Pokoknya, the way they portray reality doesn't necessarily represent reality. One has to understand that the video-maker has a set amount of time to insert as much information as they need to, and to make it as interesting as possible so that people would watch it. Would a half-hour about how 27 million Malaysians are coexisting, and a small percentage of that is taking to the streets for half-a-day make interesting watching? Probably. But it's not as compelling and dramatic as portraying thousands and thousands of people being unhappy and fighting for their basic human rights of speech and expression against a corrupt and nefarious regime.

So when consuming a piece of information, we need to keep in mind that the makers of the thing make decisions as to what to include and what not to include in the piece because of the limitations of the medium they are using, as well as because they have a specific agenda or message to put across and are trying their best to convey it to us, the consumers, and by doing so, have to neglect some pieces of information that will jeopardise their agenda. Whether it's right or wrong for them to do that is a different question entirely. What we need to focus on is understanding that things are put in a certain way for a reason. We have a responsibility to ourselves to ask "why" in our heads, and come up with reasonable answers so that we're not susceptible to being easily manipulated by the content creator.

I am a content creator myself, so please be critical of my writings, videos and songs as well. I welcome it. 

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