By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP, Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, September 23, 1995:
If the UKMhead of Communications Department is such a ‘fan’ of Marty Rimm, whose “dubious” undergraduate studies resulted in the Time Cover story on “Cyberporn”, will Prof. Dr. Mohd Safar Hasim invite him to join his department as a model exemplar for UKM students.
The reaction of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia head of Communications Department Prof Dr. Mohd Safar Hasim to my criticism of him for trying to fan hysteria about pornography on the Internet instead of rational discussion about the information superhighway has missed the points altogether.
Dr. Safar has found himself in the ridiculous position of defending the integrity and quality of a study by American Marty Rimm, whose undergraduate study at the Carnegie-Mellon University in the United States was given cover treatment in the 3 rd July issue of the Ime magazine under the heading “Cyberporn”.
Dr. Safar must be one of the rare handful of communications experts in the world who is defending the integrity and quality of the study purportedly on “Marketing Pornography on the Information superhighway” by Marty Rimm, who had been denounced as a “Cyberfraud” for his unscrupulous statistical methodology.
I do not know how many other Marty Rimm ‘fans’ are there in Malaysia among our local communications exoerts, who should probably hand together to form a “Marty Rimm Fan Club”.
If the UKM head of Communications Department is such a ‘fan’ of Marty Rimm, will Prof. Dr. Mohd safar Haim invite Marty Rimm to join his department as a model exemplar for UKM students?
I have instructed my office to send Dr. Mohd Safar Hasim in full my four-page statement yesterday so that he should not sidetrack the central issues I had raised.
Challenge Safar to circulate in the UKM campus my four-page critique of his remarks in the press yesterday about pornography on the Internet
I would like to see whether he has the intellectual integrity and courage to display my four-page critique of his remarks in the press yesterday in the UKM campus to invite a full debate and discussion. This is a challenge to Safar.
Let me reiterate the central questions involved in my argument with Safar so that there is no distorrion of the issues concerned:
Firstly, there is no argument about the existence of pornography in “cyberspace” but it is wrong and dishonest to fan hysteria to create the impression that the Internet is awash with pornography – or to rely on a dubious and discredited study like the one by Marty Rimm.
Secondly, what should be the priority of the communications department head in a local university, which must be regarded as a “sensitive” and even “strategic” position when the world is going through an information revolution. Is it to fan hysteria about pornography on the Internet and drive Malaysians away from the Information Superhighway or to educate Malaysians about its great potential as well as its abuses and to encourage an exponential growth of Malaysians joining the Internet in the shortest possible time?
I want to end on a personal note. If Dr. Safar fully endorses Marty Rimm’s outrages study that 85% of the images on Internet’s Usenet network are filled with obscene and pornographic materials, is prepared to make a full confession of the total volume of obscene and pornographic materials which he had been inundated with since his going on-line to the Internet?