Monday, October 29, 2012

International Malaysia Law Conference Session: Social Media

I was invited to be the moderator for a session at the International Malaysia Law Conference on 27 September 2012 organised by the  National Young Lawyers Committee entitled "Social Media: Guilty! For Updating your Facebook and Tweeting."

The speakers for the session were Edmund Bon, of LoyarBurok fame, Art Harun , blogger and lawyer, and finally Marina Mahathir. The title of the session suggested a narrow discussion on the recently enacted presumption in law under section 114A of the Evidence Act, which presumes that the named author or editor of any publication (including electronic publication on twitter or on Facebook) is presumed to have published that material.

This topic though had been discussed at length at various forums before and I was scratching my head trying to figure out how to keep the discussion interesting for the audience. Up until the night before, Edmund and I were still trying to exchange ideas on twitter on what topics to cover.

I admit, I was a bit worried even right before the start of the session since I did not have any clear idea on what direction the discussion would take. 

Upon arriving at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, I was a bit shocked at seeing the very tiny room allocated for the session. It seemed like quite a number of people would be attending but it looked like the room could hold about 50-60 people only.

As the session got underway, the people started to trickle in and then absolutely packed the whole room. There was only standing space left and even then, some people could not even get into the room.

My earlier fears on how the session would go were very much misplaced. I underestimated the strength of the speakers and with Edmund started the ball rolling and advocated for the use of social media as a tool for activism. You can have a read of the coverage given to the session, both by the Malaysian Bar, Malaysiakini as well as The Edge.

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed moderating the session. It is very much an organic discussion, with a natural ebb and flow and with each speaker jumping in to counter another's point or to add to the discussion. In line with the social media theme, I left my iPad open and also accepted questions posed to me on twitter which I in turn posed to the speakers. I need to do that more often with a social media-savvy audience.


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