BN Govt Coming Down Hard On Freedom Of Expression

By Crankster

It was quite subtle at first. They tried to block Malaysia Today around this time – exactly two years ago.

You and I know how that went.

A mirror site popped up almost immediately, and Malaysians, being the busybodies that they naturally are, forwarded the link for the new site to everyone they knew.

I received the link to that mirror site at least 5 times via email.

And then they put the Malaysia Today blog owner Raja Petra Kamarudin behind bars using the draconian Internal Security Act as a tool. RPK has since wisely left the country, but is still running the blog from abroad.

Now they are coming down hard on individuals who speak out against the injustices of the BN government.

Journalist Helen Ang was one of them – for her superb article posted on the CPI website regarding NEP and minority religions.

Then Wee Meng Chee (better known as Namewee), was questioned for more than 7 hours over his rap song criticising a blatantly racist headmistress.

The irony of the situation is that the headmistress went scot-free with her statements.

Malaysia to monitor Internet for ‘harmful’ blogs (from AFP)

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia has formed a task force to scour the Internet for blog postings deemed harmful to national unity, authorities said on Friday in the latest of a series of actions against new media.

Home ministry deputy secretary general for security Abdul Rahim Mohamad Radzi said the unit would involve the police, Internet regulators, the information ministry and the attorney general’s chambers.

“It is a mechanism that will coordinate these various agencies to help monitor what is being said in cyberspace and to take action against those that are trying to stoke racial tensions and disunity,” he told AFP.

Abdul Rahim said the group would also monitor alternative and mainstream media for similar content.

“There is a disturbing trend now appearing on the Internet where some people are inciting racial unrest and causing confusion and this will damage the peace we have in the country,” he added.

Abdul Rahim cited the recent case of a Facebook page that insulted Muslim Malays. They make up the majority of Malaysia’s multicultural population, alongside large ethnic Chinese and Indian communities.

Police are also investigating ethnic Chinese rapper Wee Meng Chee for sedition, after he posted a three-minute rap on YouTube criticising a Malay headmistress accused of making racial slurs against minority students.

The government has ordered a probe into the case which caused anger among Malaysia’s minorities, who complain their rights are being eroded as the country becomes increasingly “Islamised”.

In another case, Malaysian journalist Irwan Abdul Rahman was charged this week over a satirical blog which made fun of the state power firm Tenaga, and faces a year’s jail if convicted.

The prosecution caused a stir because unlike the mainstream press, the web and online media in Malaysia have remained relatively free, despite occasional raids, bans and government criticism.

Major newspapers and broadcasters are closely linked with the ruling coalition, so the Internet has become a lively forum for dissent and debate.

The government in 1996 pledged not to censor online content as part of a campaign to promote its information technology sector.

The government, bound by its pledge not to censor online content is now clamping down on individuals who rightfully speak their mind by posting material online.

It would be amusing were it not so tragic, that the intention is portrayed as so noble – protecting the peace in the country.

The only problem for BN is that the Malaysian citizen of average intelligence knows that it is the grandmaster of racial unrest and disunity.

But the frequency and intensity of these events has me worried. I believe something really big is coming – and very soon.

[Originally published at Crankshaft]

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