DENPASAR, Indonesia -- Bloggers United Malaysia 2007, Malaysia's first national meeting on blogging, will be aimed at promoting blogging with a series of talks and workshops. However, when Malaysia's tech-savvy meet at Petaling Jaya's Lake View Club May 19, there is little doubt that the most pressing topic at hand will be how to stave off a government push to crack down on online expression.
Blogging has taken Malaysia by storm, rapidly becoming an alternative voice to the state-controlled media. Washington-based Freedom House ranked Malaysia at 150 out of 195 nations surveyed in its latest global survey of press freedom.
Bloggers' success has been the source of their problems, with an increasingly anxious government looking for ways to assert control over the "blogosphere." Malaysia is estimated to have about 10 million Internet users.