Freedom of speech: Responsibility and accountability

Source: Business Mirror

THE Internet has changed not only the way we obtain our news, but also how people react to that information. Those who obtain their daily news from online newspapers and from social media know that a person can make comments on the news articles.

Online readers both read the news and the comments to see the reactions. Netizens have at least once made a comment on these articles and it has definitely made it easier to exchange views or see the general sentiment as we read along.

Those who read their articles have also encountered comments from users that are offensive, rude, degrading and humiliating. Largely anonymous, these users often post derogatory and deplorable comments on articles as a response either to the article or to other users. Since comment sections are largely uncensored, individual comments can contain expletives, below-the-belt insults and, at worst, threats.

As a response to this, one prominent local online news outfit has changed its policy on commenting. In an effort to make the news web site a “safe place” for users, the comment sections will be heavily moderated, and crude and disrespectful comments will be deleted.

This move has been largely criticized by online users. Invoking the concept of freedom of speech, they argue that such move is tantamount to censorship and suppresses the right of users to express their opinions freely. Users also fear that such heavy-handed measure allows news sites to censor dissenting opinion and label them as “offensive”.

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Court of Appeal allows Bersih 2.0’s appeal, quashes T-shirt ban

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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Bersih 4 rally participants brave the rain as they listen to speeches in downtown Kuala Lumpur, August 30, 2015. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 29 — The Court of Appeal today allowed Bersih 2.0’s appeal against the High Court’s rejection of their lawsuit challenging the Home Minister’s ban on Bersih 4 rally T-shirts last year, and quashed the ban at the same time.

The panel led by Justice Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh said they agreed with lawyer Edmund Bon’s submission, adding the Home Minister’s order for the ban was “unreasonable.”

“The order is unreasonable. We agreed with the submission… we allowed the appeal,” Mohd Zawawi said in the courtroom here.

The High Court on February rejected Bersih 2.0’s challenge to the Home Minister’s ban of the Bersih 4 T-shirt, saying the order was within the ministry’s jurisdiction.

Earlier in his submission, Bon argued that the Home Minister’s reasons for the ban were “irrelevant” given that situations such as the September 16 ‘Red Shirts’ rally happened after the ban was made.

“These grounds were an afterthought. The Minister had taken into account irrelevant considerations and acted irrationally,” he said.

Bersih 2.0 chair Maria Chin Abdullah later told reporters that she hoped the authorities would drop cases of people arrested for wearing Bersih 4 T-shirt after today’s decision. Read more

Report: MACC to question bank chairman over RM15m graft case

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 10, 2015.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 10, 2015.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — The chairman of a government-linked bank is the latest individual to be questioned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in connection to the alleged misappropriation of RM15 million.

According to online news portal The Star Online, the 65-year-old retired army general is the second banker from that same financial institution to be questioned, the first being a 48-year-old managing director who was arrested on Thursday.

The MACC is investigating allegations of corruption involving a contract for a book deal on a national leader through a tender system said to be worth RM15 million that was awarded to a city-based publisher. However, the book reportedly never went to print. Read more