Aliran condemns the blockade by internet regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on news portal The Malaysian Insider (TMI) for purportedly breaching Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
The MCMC apparently was concerned about so-called unverified information being used by certain media outlets which, it claimed, could cause confusion and an unwarranted situation in the country.
This is clearly a draconian move that violates the government’s guarantee not to censor the internet – especially when the MCMC did not clearly indicate which of the news reports had not been verified and could cause public confusion.
According to TMI, which just turned eight today, internet service providers particularly Celcom and Unifi jumped on the bandwagon by blocking access to the TMI site.
The tired refrain of “national security” once again was used by the authorities to justify the block without having to indicate how and why certain reports could threaten the security of the country.
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In a social context where major financial scandals have grabbed the attention of curious and concerned Malaysians, the mantra of “national security” or public confusion certainly rings hollow. If anything, the suspicion among the public that the Najib administration has a lot to hide is being reinforced.
TMI, along with a few other media outlets, has been at the forefront in unravelling and reporting huge financial scandals particularly the infamous 1MDB.
This censorship exercised by the authorities with so much impunity doesn’t augur well for concerned citizens who treasure freedom of expression and of the media.
We demand that the MCMC and Putrajaya unblock the TMI site unconditionally and desist from further making a mockery of democracy and the rule of law.
Aliran executive committee
25 February 2016