Friday, February 26, 2016

Law doesn’t let MCMC block websites, says global rights group

Malaysia's Internet regulator does not have the power to block a website without due process of law, Amnesty International said today over the latest case of Putrajaya's suppression of online media. Amnesty's Southeast Asia and Pacific campaigns deputy director Josef Roy Benedict said the law cited by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to justify the block on The Malaysian Insider only "lays down the offence of 'improper use of network facilities or network service'". "Breaches of this provision must be proven before a court where the defence must be given a chance to answer to the charge before a decision is made and sanctions meted out," he said in a statement. He also said the block was a "misuse" of the criminal justice system. MCMC has cited Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 to justify blocking access to TMI since Thursday over a report which it said had caused "public confusion". The report quoted an unnamed source from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on an investigation related to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. "If the authorities have reasonable concerns about the content, these should be addressed in line with provisions provided by law and according to international standards, which must be necessary and proportional to a legitimate aim. "The authorities must not use such restrictions to simply silence a critical voice," Amnesty said, describing the move as "harassment and intimidation of journalists and editors". Amnesty said Putrajaya's crackdown on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly had been "unprecedented" in the last two years. Its 2015/2016 report on the State of the World's Human Rights released earlier this week said Malaysia had "intensified" its clamps on freedom of expression in the country. – February 27, 2016.]]>

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