As Malaysia celebrated its 51st anniversary of independence this past weekend, news has emerged of the government blocking Malaysia Today, a very popular and controversial political news site.
Malaysia Today was founded in August 2004 by Raja Petra Kamarudin, who still serves as its editor. Currently hosted in Singapore, Malaysia Today is usually critical of both the governing and opposition parties. The portal has reportedly received almost 100 million hits and ranks in the top 10 political sites in Malaysia.
While we are used to hearing such stories in places like China, the move to block Malaysia Today is a very surprising and unfortunate step backwards. Why? Because the Malaysian government vowed to "ensure no Internet censorship," under the ‘MSC Malaysia 10 Point Bill of Guarantees’ when it launched its Multimedia Super Corridor strategy back in 1996.
The Malaysian Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar justified the decision at a press conference at Parliament lobby, "When they publish things that are libellous, slanderous or defamatory, it is natural for the SKMM to act against these websites whenever necessary."
"We do not intend to curtail people’s freedom or right to express themselves. Everyone is subjected to the law, even websites and blogs," Albar added.
All 19 of Malaysia’s Internet Service Providers were ordered by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to block access to the Malaysia Today news portal.
"It is being blocked because we found that some of the comments on the Web site were insensitive, bordering on incitement," explained MCMC chief operating officer, Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi.
However, you can still access the controversial site at a mirror site.
Blocking Freedom of Speech
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