Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Readers Want Answers!

As part of KLAB this coming weekend, Sister in Islam are organising a forum of the censorship of books in Malaysia :
Wacana on Book Banning: Readers Want Answers

Date: May 3, 2008
Time : 4.00 -- 6.00pm
Venue : Studio 3, The Annexe, Central Market

Presenters :
V. Gayathry (Centre for Independent Journalism)
Astora Jabat (deputy editor of Al-Islam and columnist for Utusan Malaysia)
Norhayati Kaprawi (Sisters In Islam)
Representative from Home Ministry (to be confirmed)

Each presenter is given 15 minutes and we hope their input will spark a lively discussion from the floor. Input can be either in Bahasa Malaysia or English.

Join us in this discussion as we scrutinise the history of book banning, including in the Muslim world, and consider the political, social and theological currents behind this form of censorship, especially in Malaysia. We hope to bring together publishers, writers (including those who have been banned), bloggers, journalists, and most importantly, readers and lovers of books.

There is limited seating so please register with Mala at 03-7785 6121. We look forward to seeing you there!

Sisters in Islam
It's a topic very close to my heart, as all of you know, and I've just been invited along to take part too. Really hope that the representative from the Home Ministry is coming along too, as this could lead to some real dialogue!


Baronhawk said...

Dear Sharon,

Ahh.. book banning, the little sister of book burning... I do believe that it might spark a lively debate... and I might cover it for my new employers... hmmm interesting, maybe even participate myself... he he he he. Thanks for the heads up! I shall endeavour to turn up.


The UnMalaysian Voice.

bibliobibuli said...

great! it would be good to have you there. who are you writing for??

animah said...

Ok, who wants to take bets on whether the Home Ministry will show up?

bibliobibuli said...

it will be so sad if they don't turn up ... but i think you are right, animah

Baronhawk said...

Dear Sharon,

But for a twist of fate I would probably be the spin-doctor sent by The Home Ministry to reinvent the take upon this event.

But I guess if I were to make it to the event it would be on the behest of an independent and yet to be named online news portal.

I am to be its newly christened Junior Editor (English) and Field Correspondent. Still some debate upon the name but our aim is to cover current affairs, news and issues without bias. Bringing viewpoints and perspectives from all angles. Portraying cause, looming consequence and looking both far ahead and deep into the past. An intellectual overview of Malaysian affairs. Our goal to be the sounding board of intelligent discussions and informed decisions. Providing a middle ground between the reactionary viewpoints of the alternative media and the closed ranks of the establishment press.


The UnMalaysian Voice.

bibliobibuli said...

that sounds very exciting.

just heard that kdn is not sending a speaker but an observer. so sad.

Linguisome said...

I'm a little curious and this may sound silly or stupid, but: does book banning means that the books will not be imported from wherever it came from or not be made available, but it does not necessarily mean readers are banned from reading them? What if someone managed to get a hold of the books in pdf. files or any forms electronically? How does the government implement new rules in the 'cyber world'?

bibliobibuli said...

very good question. (i wrote a beginning guide to book banning in malaysia here) the law states that you can can be fined for possessing the books in question but to my knowledge no-one ever has been prosecuted for this. i have books that are on the banned list at home. some of them i bought before the ban was announced, so i wonder what the position is there.

books on the banned list get into the country all the time - carried in from overseas, ordered by post from amazon et al. without any problem (so how banned is banned anyway?)

the only de facto effect of the ban - you won't find the books in the shops

the availability of books in digital format hasn't come into the picture for the ministry at all, and i don't think they can monitor books transmitted electronically.

when books are banned, people just want to read 'em more anyway!

i've more to write on this anyway

Anonymous said...

I suspect tyhis "book banning" thing is just a ploy to keep old men busy :) it's like the Siberia of government.. these old men won't retire, and we can't fire them, so what do we do ? we transfer them to the "book banning" department so they can pontificate harmlessly about how evil books are :)

It's not like anything is REALLY banned. The bookstores are paranoid about it though, I can't say I blame them :)