MCMC must justify censoring Lowyat.net report on a serious personal data breach
20 October 2017
Lawyers for Liberty view with extreme concern the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) heavy handed approach in ordering Lowyat.net to remove the report titled “Personal data of millions of Malaysians up for sale, sources of breach still unknown” which the website duly complied.
MCMC must explain the reasons for this action – and if the report has any basis – as the implications are extremely serious and would affect the security and personal data of millions of Malaysians.
Instead of shooting the messenger, MCMC should be more alarmed at the contents of the report which should be MCMC’s primary concern i.e. the personal data security of the communications and multimedia industries and the prevention of online fraud.
If the report was untrue or inaccurate, then the burden is on Lowyat.net to rectify or remove the report altogether if it cannot be salvaged. However, if the report can be substantiated, then it would wholly irresponsible and shocking for MCMC to order for its removal as this would clearly amount to censorship of Internet content and a desperate attempt to stem the flow of critical news and information.
Further, such behaviour is undemocratic, amounts to a grave abuse of power and in breach of the ‘no-Internet-censorship’ policy which is protected in both the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and MSC Malaysia’s Bill of Guarantees.
MCMC must be reminded that their real work is not to censor news that they do not like or to target those who post critical or ‘offensive’ remarks against the authorities as we have seen many times in the past. It would be more prudent for MCMC to come to terms with the reality of the Internet and social media rather than resorting to harsh enforcement methods that are inconsistent with modern democratic demands.
Unless MCMC can justify their action, we call upon the immediately revocation of all orders against Lowyat.net to remove the report.
Lawyers for Liberty