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Category Archives: Blogging and Freedom of Speech

Bloggers and online journalists usually have no restrictions towards their blogs’, online journals contents and many more.

According to Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the rights to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through media and regardless of frontiers”.

However this article does not seems to apply to some countries like China, Malaysia and other countries in the world that are keen to restrict the public flow of information, the internet represents the greatest challenges. For example, China has estimated 30,000 officials patrolling its great “firewall” for seditious comment and other undesirable material.The latest country to consider taking up the challenge is Malaysia, which has threatened a crackdown on blogs.

New laws could be introduced to prevent bloggers spreading “disharmony, chaos, seditious material and lies”, domestic newspapers quoted Kong Cho Ha, a technology minister, as saying.

Despite triumph  over the Opposition’s win in the 26th August by-elections, political bloggers in Malaysia face the sobering prospect of the government taking tougher action against blog and website owners. After decades of managing information through legislation regulating mainstream media, the government faces frustration with the availability of online information. Malaysia’s Communications & Multimedia Act 1998 disallows censorship of the Internet, leaving the government only three legal alternatives: on a national level, sedition and the provisions under Internal Security Act 1960 (which allows for detention without trial); and on a private level, defamation law suits (see also Jeff Ooi on defamation).

Recently,Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin (Malaysian blogger), known for his anti-government views, was sentenced to jail for two years due to publishing various claims about the bad stuff done by the government leaders on his site, Malaysia Today which also serves as his blog as well as a news portal.

raja-petra

(source: globalvoicesonline.org)

In the Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia states that;

(1) Subject to Clauses (2)
(a) every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression;

(2) Parliament may by law impose –
(a) on the rights conferred by paragraph (a) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or of any Legislative Assembly or to provide against contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to any offence;

In the Article 10(1), it state that every citizen guarantees the freedom of speech but that is not impose in Malaysia where Article 10(2) states the Parliament is allow to take action if it is considered danger to the country.

References:

1. Daniel Chandanayagam, Plans for Action Against Malaysian Bloggers, Global Voices Advocacy, viewed on June 14, 2009 at 12.55 a.m. http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2008/08/27/plans-for-action-against-malaysian-bloggers/.

2. Freedom of Speech: How qualified is it in Malaysia? ( Constitutional Rights), Legally Blawg.com, viewed on June 14,2009 at 10.55 p.m. http://blawg.joshua3.com/?p=5.

3. Peter Walker (Dec 5, 2006), Mission’s Unbloggable, Guardian.co.uk, viewed on June 13,2009 at 8.45 p.m. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2006/dec/05/malaysiablogb.

4. Victor, Malaysian Bloggers Sentenced to Two years in Jail, Committee to Protect Bloggers, viewed on June 14, 2009 at 1.45 a.m. http://committeetoprotectbloggers.org/2009/04/23/malaysian-blogger-goes-into-hiding/

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