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

Bloggers registration can reduce dissemination of unverified and false information, experts say

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 ― The proposal to require bloggers and online writers to register with the Communications and Multimedia Ministry is likely to see a reduction in the current rampant dissemination of unverified and false information, according to academics and bloggers interviewed.

They felt that the registration would help create writers who were more ethical, aware and responsible for what they wrote and disseminated.

The director of the Centre for Malaysian Royal Institutional Studies Malaysia at Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), Prof Datuk Dr Ramlah Adam, said the proposal should be implemented immediately to ensure that writers remained ethical and responsible to themselves as well as to society and the nation.

“When there is that feeling, we can avoid defamation which can lead to disunity. All religions forbid disunity,” she told Bernama. Read more