Censor social media to block out filth, says Mahathir
IT IS necessary to censor alternative or social media in order to "block out all this filth that comes to us through the Internet", said former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday.
"Not to block out chedet.com. Please don't block that out. But to block out all this filth that comes to us through the Internet," Dr Mahathir said in a speech to laughter from the audience at the World Bloggers and Social Media Summit in Kuala Lumpur. Chedet.com is the name of his popular blog.
In his speech, titled Social Media And The Future: View From An Elder Statesman, Dr Mahathir said social media is good for him, as it enables him to "irritate a lot of people".
"Of course, if there is something important you have to do, even if it causes irritation to some people… like saying somebody should resign.
"What's wrong with resignation? I resigned," he added, referring to his recent repeated blog posts calling for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down.
However, he urged others not to misuse social media, as irritation can cause conflict.
He related how he chaired a meeting of experts in the communications industry during his tenure as premier.
"They told me I must never censor the Internet. I thought that was very reasonable. So I said no, we must not censor the Internet," he added.
However, he has changed his mind, likening social media to a knife.
"With a knife, you can carve beautiful objects. You can also stab another person and kill him.
"The alternative media is like a knife. It can be used for the good of society or it can be used to make society less liveable," said Dr Mahathir.
Describing himself as curious and "not very computer savvy", he decided to type "sex" as a keyword to see what he would get.
"Sure enough, I got a lot of filth. Dirty pictures. I think even a young child of three years old could spell out 'sex' and get all this dirt.
"And they will grow up with this filth filling their brains and they will not be good for society. It's easy to access. Not so easy to prevent children, especially teenagers.
"Teens are very excitable. They have grown new appendages, and when they get excited in the wrong way, they do the wrong things. So we have a lot of sex crimes nowadays," he added.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK