Thursday, February 25, 2016

MCMC has no business blocking TMI, says lawyer

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has gone against Article 10 of the Federal Constitution in blocking The Malaysian Insider website, as the law does not give it powers to do so, says lawyer Syahredzan Johan. Posting his views on Facebook, the constitutional lawyer said Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 dealing with improper use of network facilities or services, which is cited in the notice to deny access to the news portal, merely created an offence for abuse of Internet networks and services. If anyone commits an offence under Section 233, they should be brought to face court, which will decide whether the accused is guilty. "MCMC cannot on their own decide there is an offence or breach of the section and then act to block access to the TMI news portal," he said. In a separate Facebook post, Syahredzan said the move to block TMI showed that the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Bill of Guarantees, which states that there will be no censorship of the Internet, "has become a hollow statement bereft of any meaning". Meanwhile, Gerakan deputy youth chief Andy Yong said the legislation used to block TMI should be amended or repealed as its broad and unspecific interpretation could easily lead to injustice or abuse. "In the notices, there is no mention whatsoever of the facts or proof or details of the breach of Section 233 to show an offence is committed by MI (The Malaysian Insider). The law needs to be clarified. "There is also no reference in Section 263 (2) that gives MCMC the power to block access to an online news portal or website whilst investigation is being done," he said in a statement today. He said MCMC should have applied for a court order or an injunction to block access instead. In a press release yesterday, the Internet regulator warned other news websites not to publish unverified reports as it could cause confusion and create an unwarranted situation. The statement did not say how TMI had flouted Section 233. This morning, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar took to his Twitter account to announce that police will investigate TMI chief editor Jahabar Sadiq as well as other editors and journalists, over a news report on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) oversight panel. He said the report, which he did not specify, had "confused" the people. – February 26, 2016.]]>

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