In a place where the mainstream media were biased and often functioned as a mouthpiece of the ruling government, opposition parties had great difficulties to campaign. Their newspapers, which were only allowed to be published biweekly, had been talking about corruptions, misuse of police force and Internal Security Act, election scams and other untold news.
As the press freedom continued to decay, internet became a very important tool for the oppositions. Their online dailies and Blogs played important roles in publishing the hidden stories and educating people about politics and democracy. The government began to hate the political bloggers. They were warned that legal action could be taken against them, but this didn't stop the bloggers from writing.
A segment of an interview by the press with one of the ministers, published in the New Sunday Times, October 28, 2007 reflected their hatred for the bloggers;
Q: "Do you read blogs?"
A: "l don't. I don't waste my time. The few pieces that people print for me is just rubbish.
I'd rather spend my time to do things that are constructive; that go down directly to the people who are really in need of the help of the government.
Our bloggers are really not up to standard. When they put up something, it's not something that they want to discuss in a very intellectual way.
It's more because of their anger-the language they use. Why should I read all this rubbish?
When the standard of our bloggers has been upgraded, then probably I will look at what is written.
But anyway, they are a minority. My concern is for the majority."
It was the morning of 8th March 2008, as the ruling party entered the election with confidence. Their past glory, especially the landslide victory during the last election, raised their spirit. Their traditional campaign machinery had been working hard during the past few days.
The result of the election was surprising. The oppositions won four out of thirteen states and retained the only one they had before, marking a milestone in the history of the country. Although the ruling party won the election and retained power, there was a clear sign of unhappiness and rejection towards them reflected in their diminished electoral performance.
It was a beginning of a new era. It was a sign that people have realized that democracy is about people's power. It was a sign that people had overcome the fear created in their mind and passed on from one generation to another, that chaos would occur if the oppositions win. It was also a sign of pent up frustrations and dissatisfactions been registered at the ballot boxes.
Most importantly, it was a sign of rejection towards the biased mainstream media and a recognition for the fearless alternative media. It was a sign that political blogs were valued as a source of information.