Unblock access to Sarawak Report — Centre for Independent Journalism

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Censorship - good or bad?

Censorship – good or bad?

JULY 20 — The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) challenges the actions of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in blocking access to website Sarawak Report.

Blocking a website is a serious restriction on freedom of expression and can only legitimately be done under specific, narrowly defined and necessary circumstances.

There must be a legitimate purpose – whether for national security, public order, or public morality – which is clearly outlined and disclosed. The blocking must also be done via a legitimate law and must be proportionate to the means they intend to achieve.

In this case, MCMC has merely stated that access to Sarawak Report has been blocked as it has violated sections 211 and 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA).

Those sections state the offence of posting offensive content on the internet and the penalties that a court may impose if a person or content provider is found guilty. In this case, MCMC appears to have assumed the role of prosecutor and judge and found Sarawak Report guilty of an offence under the CMA without a prosecution or a court finding.  Read more

Is the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement truly for trade? – Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

(Deputy President, HAKAM)

THE US Senate has finally approved “fast track” procedures for US President Obama to conclude the trade agreement known as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). This means that the agreement being negotiated between the US and 11 Pacific Rim countries, including Malaysia, can be presented for a “yes or no” approval process to the US Senate for its adoption. This will prevent a long process of debate which could filibuster and even thwart the adoption of the treaty.

The negotiations, now nearing conclusion, started in 2010 based essentially on the US template agreement.

The first problem: the negotiations are shrouded in secrecy. The text being negotiated is not fully disclosed to the people of the countries involved: citizens, legislators, farmers, and such like. Read more