Malaysia Will Likely Force ‘Political Blogs’ and News Websites to Register With the Government – Mong Palatino

Source: Global Voices

BY MONG PALATINO

Bloggers in Malaysia brace themselves for state-mandated registration. Image edited by Kevin Rothrock.

Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Ministry has formally proposed legal amendments to the Attorney General that would require the country’s political blogs and online news portals to register with the government. Minister Salleh Said Keruak denies that the legislation amounts to censorship, arguing that the proposal is designed to preserve the Internet as a tool for promoting Malaysia’s economic growth, and meant to protect the country against internal divisions brought about by misleading information published online, he says.

Human rights groups and media freedom advocates denounced the proposal as a curtailment of free speech, saying the move reverses the government’s earlier stated commitment to promoting Internet freedom.

Critics of Malaysia’s ruling political party say the push to force political blogs to register with the state is a desperate tactic meant to silence dissent. Since last year, the government has struggled against a corruption scandal that’s sparked mass protests across the country. Internet users, including bloggers, are some of the prime minister’s most vocal detractors, accusing him of ill-gotten gains in several dubious transactions. State censors have already blocked a handful of news websites for reporting allegedly ”unverified” information about the corruption issue. Read more

Child marriage used to cover up rape

Source: The Malay Mail Online

A screen grab from a YouTube video of a social experiment by Coby Persin, which saw crowds reacting to a ’65-year-old man and his 12-year-old girl bride’ during their ‘wedding photo shoot’ in the middle of New York City.

PUTRAJAYA, April 23 — Devious fathers are manipulating the legal system to marry off their underage children.

The Shariah Judiciary Department say the fault lies in the present Shariah court system which entrust parents with the power to obtain consent from the courts on behalf of their underage daughters.

The department’s senior judicial director, Mohd Nadzri Abd Rahman, said the system gives room for irresponsible parents to abuse this power for their own interests.

“There was a case where a father requested to marry off his underage daughter and the court allowed it. However, we later learned the father had raped his daughter and married her off to cover up his crime,” he said, adding that charges were later brought against the father.

Nadzri said the system had also failed a 14-year-old girl when her father permitted her to be married off to her rapist, who was also the owner of the restaurant she worked at. Read more