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Ahad, 9 Ogos 2009

Malaysians must rise to protect freedom of expression and information

Minister of Information, Communication and Culture Rais Yatim's announcement that the Federal Government plans to introduce an Internet filter is yet another example of the increasingly draconian nature of the Najib administration.
The MSC Malaysia 10 Point Bill of Guarantees spells out in no uncertain terms that there will be no censorship of the Internet. This plan clearly renders the bill meaningless.
Datuk Seri Rais' assurance that the filter will only target pornography holds no water. Instead, it marks the beginning of a slippery slope with no end to it, except possibly a Big Brother government that monitors every move made by Malaysians. A senior official with the National Security Council (NSC) was already quoted in an AFP report as saying that "bloggers who inflame racial sentiments" are targeted by this censorship plan.
It is clear that this is a backdoor way to censor views that are sympathetic to the Pakatan Rakyat, be they on blogs, news Web sites or forums.
The government needs to stop looking at banning as a catch-all solution. There are already adequate laws of the land such as the Multimedia Commission Act, the Penal Code and Defamation Act, while self-control and regulation must also be emphasised. To use China's flawed and postponed Green Dam as a model is highly frightening to Malaysians who cherish what little freedom we have to express ourselves. A University of Michigan study had exposed security vulnerabilities of this software. Furthermore, the result will likely be a proliferation of black market means to circumvent any censorship.
Despite being the Minister of Communications, Rais' hostility to the Internet is well known, as he recently described it as a form of ‘colonisation’.
I call on Malaysians, particularly those of the Internet generation, to rise up and protect the only space we have for open discussion of issues that affect our live and our country.

Information Chief,
Wanita Keadilan
State Assemblyman (Bukit Lanjan)

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