Malaysia mulls 'blogger register'

Malaysia is reportedly considering moves to compel bloggers on locally-hosted websites to register with the authorities in an effort to control anonymous postings the government says could harm security.

Malaysia mulls 'blogger register'

 

Malaysia is reportedly considering movesto compel bloggers on locally-hosted websites to register with the authoritiesin an effort to control anonymous postings the government says could harmsecurity.  

Acompulsory registration could curb the spread of negative or malicious contentin cyberspace, the minister responsible for communications was quoted as sayingby The Star newspaper.

 

ShazimanAbu Mansor said the government welcomed blogging but not negative postings byanonymous bloggers.

Criticshowever have condemned the idea as "anti-IT" saying it violates the government'sown widely-touted 'no-censorship' policy for internet content.

There areabout 50,000 websites registered using the .my suffix for Malaysia,Shaziman said, allowing anyone to host websites with malicious content.

Lawsuit

Whatis malicious and negative content was not specified in the newspaper report,but such terms are generally used in topics considered as sensitive includingcriticism of the government, and discussions on race and religion.

Thegovernment proposal comes as two Malaysian bloggers, Jeff Ooi and AhirudinAttan, face a defamation suit filed by the government-controlled New StraitsTimes newspaper.

Theyallegedly posted libellous remarks in their blogs about the paper's editors andexecutives.

Thedefamation suit against Ooi, who runs Screenshots, and Ahirudin, who blogs onRocky's Bru, is the first time Malaysian bloggers have been hauled before thecountry's courts.

While thegovernment and parties from the ruling coalition control much of the country'straditional media, many of Malaysia'smost popular blogs offer political commentaries that include scathing criticismof government policies.

'Threat'

Ooicriticised the proposal saying the government should be "very sure of itsobjective in formulating new policies and guidelines" for the internet.

"Thelast four years has seen roughly 20,000 blogs spring up in Malaysia,including those which could not be sustained," he told Al Jazeera.

"Ifthey [the government] are super-cautious of blogs, they need to specify whattype of blogs or bloggers who pose a threat to national security."

Both Ooiand Ahirudin said the government was unclear on the concept of blogging.

Ahirudinsaid the government was trying to control what Malaysians were writing onlineand to create fear among bloggers.

"Ithink Shaziman is making the proposal out of ignorance, a lack of understandingof what blogging is all about," he told Al Jazeera.

"It'slike asking a person who wants to start writing a personal diary to registerwith the government."

Influential

He saidMalaysian bloggers were planning to set up an alliance to engage the governmentin discussions about blogs and blogging.

Somepoliticians with their own blogs have criticised the government's suggestionbut acknowledged there were elements in the blogging community looking to stirup trouble.

ShahrirAbdul Samad, member of parliament for the southern city of Johor Baru, said bloggers were generallyaware of ethical issues and the responsibility for their content.

But somebloggers do post inflammatory remarks, he said. The problem was also aboutcomments left by anonymous visitors to the blogs, added Shahrir.

Lim KitSiang, parliamentary opposition leader, said Shaziman's proposal showed thatthe government was becoming increasingly anti-information technology.

"Ithink this is the wrong approach altogether," Lim, also a blogger, said.

"Insteadof coming up with ways to inhibit blogging, these ministers should be educatedto start blogging themselves to invite a more interactive, communicative styleof government."

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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