MCMC must unblock all websites previously restricted due to political motivation
17 May 2018
Lawyers for Liberty notes with concern that websites that were previously blocked by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) during the tenure of former Prime Minister Najib Razak for their political content remain blocked today.
As in any functioning democracy, the fourth estate must be allowed the freedom to both report on and criticise the government of the day and hold it to account. The previous administration has greatly wronged freedom of the press and the public as a whole by shutting down these various websites that serve as whistle-blowers and called attention to the government’s wrongdoings.
We call upon MCMC to immediately reverse the blocks imposed on but not limited to the following websites:
• Sarawak Report (sarawakreport.org) – For posting articles and exposes related to 1MDB
• The Malaysian Insider (malaysianinsider.com) – For posting articles and exposes related to 1MDB
• Medium (medium.com) – For reposting articles from the Sarawak Report
• Asia Sentinel (asiasentinel.com) – For posting articles from the Sarawak Report
• Malaysia Chronicle (malaysia-chronicle.com) – For unknown reasons
• Various blogs critical of the Najib Razak administration
We recall the blocking of The Malaysian Insider which subsequently led to its closure as a shameful reminder of the serious consequences should MCMC continue down this path.
We also wish to draw attention to the revelation that broadband providers Telekom Malaysia (TM) and Maxis blocked access to Malaysiakini’s live election results website during GE14 through a method known as domain name server (DNS) hijacking.
If this is indeed true, TM and Maxis must explain to the public as to why they conspired to censor factual and timely reporting from Malaysiakini, and whether this was done under the orders of the previous government. This is a clear abuse of power and an overreach of their responsibilities as broadband providers, and a further chilling reminder of the many reforms that need to be done, including separation of government and business interest.
We remind MCMC that as the country’s regulator on all electronic communications and multimedia, they should exercise their powers in a more responsible manner and not to be influenced by unlawful political considerations as in the previous government.
As such, we demand that MCMC removes these bans immediately, in line with the democratic change ushered in by the new government.
Lawyers for Liberty