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Blogs under scrutiny in Malaysia
August 3, 2006 2:46 PM   Subscribe

PM of Malaysia: Those who spread untruths on the Net will be detained Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, warned all bloggers that "if information in blogs, websites and online portals were incorrect, bordered on slander, caused disturbance or compelled the public to lose faith in the nation’s economic policies, their authors would be detained for investigation". The Malaysian government is even considering adjusting the Printing Presses and Publications Act^ to include blogs and online media.

This comes hot on the heels of a government-ordered media blackout on Article 11, a coalition of NGOs dedicated to upholding the principles of Article 11 of the Malaysian constitution, about freedom of religion, after several protests claiming Article 11 to be anti-Muslim and confusing it with the now-defunct Interfaith Comission Initiative, which aimed to be a body of people of different faiths raising awareness about diversity of religion and working together on religious issues.

Minister of Energy, Water, and Communications Dr Lim Keng Yaik said that they will not censor the Internet (as promised when the Multimedia Super Corridor was launched), but after events such as prominent Malaysian political blogger Jeff Ooi being investigated over a supposedly offensive comment on his blog entry about Islam in 2005, and alternative news source MalaysiaKini's office raided after carrying a letter critical of the ruling party's policies in 2003, no one is really quite sure.
posted by divabat (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
“They say all kinds of things, make all kinds of dubious claims. We cannot allow them to abuse the freedom earned under the media. If left alone, they can say or pass on all kinds of things.

Like the slander that the collapse of the ringgit was the result of a Jewish conspiracy. Oh, wait, Badawi's predecessor Mahatir said that.
posted by QuietDesperation at 2:54 PM on August 3, 2006


QD, I thought the same thing! After all of the idiotic statements made by Mahathir over the years (and to this day!), this seems utterly ludicrous.
posted by drstrangelove at 2:59 PM on August 3, 2006


Next time please... "More Inside."
posted by justkevin at 3:09 PM on August 3, 2006


divabat, Thanks for bringing this to light here. Bloggers in India were blocked/censored-by-being-silenced recently. International awareness of seemed to have a favorable impact on getting the block/ban lifted.
posted by nickyskye at 4:10 PM on August 3, 2006


ti estin aletheia
posted by matteo at 5:05 PM on August 3, 2006


Badawi will find no cause for detaining on MetaFilter.
posted by NationalKato at 5:22 PM on August 3, 2006


Queue up the Zoolander references...
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:37 PM on August 3, 2006


er... "Cue", of course.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:37 PM on August 3, 2006


I like how it's not even slanderous information, just information that borders on slander.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:46 PM on August 3, 2006


Sounds like the government is conflicted on walking the talk where democracy is concerned. Religious freedom is one realm where the govt. sends mixed messages. And we all know what happened to Anwar Ibrahim.

But really, what difference would the current government stance make in a country with little history of a free press? Both Malaysia and Singapore have this tendency to only barely tolerate dissent in the media. Do Malaysian bloggers have any power to prevent government incursion into their free-speech space?

On preview - "Zoolander" was censored in Malaysia and Singapore.

Everybody sing along now! "Relax don't do it... When you want to go to it..."
posted by micketymoc at 5:46 PM on August 3, 2006


Um, "censored" = "banned".
posted by micketymoc at 5:47 PM on August 3, 2006


matteo writes "ti estin aletheia"

Excellent question. According to some, it's an opinion that everybody must necessarily hold regardless of their opinion. To others is a pure allucination, the fruit of a mind constantly seeking for a reassuring lack of variance, needing the idea that something unchanging can be found and end the quest of its seekers ; others think it is a conceivable paradigm and the list, I guess, goes on.

I guess it is uncomfortably laughable, but maybe more interesting is the idea of "truthiness" or "what sounds to be true" and is endlessy repeated with minor variations by many. So if the Prime Minister says it's bad and the media says is bad and the pope says its bad and some celebrity says its bad...because of that sequel chances are it is bad.
posted by elpapacito at 5:52 PM on August 3, 2006


Nothing pleases me more than to see some repressive autocratic regime screech about the web. Screech on, dictators.
posted by telstar at 6:37 PM on August 3, 2006


Meanwhile, in the U.S.: "The Convention on Cybercrime is a sweeping treaty that has been waiting in the wings of the Senate for nearly three years. Now the administration is putting pressure on the Senate to ratify it in the next two days. If it does, it would mean the U.S. would enforce not just our own, but the rest of the world's bad Net laws."
posted by homunculus at 7:11 PM on August 3, 2006


micketymoc : w0000t! And to think that Zoolander.avi was freely floating on certain Singapore-oriented websites/ networks I won't name. In fact, I know a few, errr, friends, who have downloaded the movie from the said networks and watched it.
posted by the cydonian at 2:43 AM on August 4, 2006


...and when I was working in Singapore, the "fuckfilm girl", as we called the pirated-DVD vendor in our building, had Zoolander for sale.

There is room for dissent in Singapore and Malaysia, I think, if only you learn to keep your head down.

(I never did figure out how fuckfilm girl got her stash over the strait.)
posted by micketymoc at 3:06 AM on August 4, 2006


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