(The Star) – The blocking of access to online news portal Malaysia Today by the Communication and Multimedia Commission (SKMM) has generated a flurry of responses, with most saying it goes against the Government’s promise not to censor the Internet.
In his blog, MCA vice-president Datuk Ong Tee Keat said he hoped that SKMM would reconsider its decision and that he was a “little surprised and disturbed” about what had happened.
“Under the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Bill of Guarantees, the Government promised there would be no censorship of the Internet. I do not understand why the SKMM is resorting to this.”
Ong said Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin was already facing several charges in court.
“We should let the court decide his fate,” Ong said, adding that forcibly blocking access to the website only lent more credence to his writings. In fact, it is foolish to think that online censorship works. There are still many other ways for surfers to access the portal.”
National Alliance of Bloggers interim president Ahirudin Attan said it was the first time that the commission had decided to go against the spirit of the promise the Government had made and stressed that it would “rattle investors’ confidence in the country.”
“Google is planning to invest here by building a multi-billion ringgit data centre here. If this is the way the commission behaves, it is as good as telling Google to please go away.”
Jelutong MP and blogger Jeff Ooi blogged that SKMM ought to be “hanged” for stifling the Internet. “Malaysians who are online are mature enough to discern between what is good and what is bad.”
The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) condemned the blocking of the site, saying the action went against national commitments spelt out under the Bill of Guarantees of the MSC.
“The commission and the Government should acknowledge that the problem is the failure of the mainstream media to fulfil its duties in reporting information adequately, truthfully and fairly,” CIJ executive director V. Gayathry said in a statement.
From Rocky about telling Google to fly kites
Malaysia censors the Internet. While Asian countries are battling each other for Google’s attention because Google wants to build a multi-billion dollar data centre, we are telling Google to go and fly kite elsewhere.
The MCMC might as well tell Google and those investors that they are NOT welcomed in Malaysia. Its decision to censor Malaysia Today (mt.harapanmalaysia.com/2008/) in effect breaks Malaysia’s promise to the world that the Government of this country will not censor the Internet.