Archive for the 'Freedom of information' Category

Internet Blackout Day on 14 Aug 2012

A message from the Centre for Independent Journalism of Malaysia:

Internet Blackout Day on 14 August gaining momentum

Kuala Lumpur — Malaysian civil society’s latest effort in campaigning against the newly introduced Section 114A to the Evidence Act 1950 — Internet Blackout Day – is gaining momentum and has received more endorsements from prominent websites, Netizens and politicians.

Bar Council has confirmed taking down their website (http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/) to support this while the Democratic Action Party (DAP) is shutting down all websites administered by them and will not be updating their Facebook and Twitter accounts all day on 14th August, 2012. Tech-savvy DAP politician Lim Kit Siang and lawyer/avid Twitter user Edmund Bon have both vowed to go offline for 24hours.

Bloggers who have pledged to support a pop-up to promote the Stop 114A campaign include Marina Mahathir, Hishamuddin Rais (Tukar Tiub), Uppercaise, Nat Tan, Niki Cheong, Anil Netto, Juana Jaafar, Sarawak Bloggers, Fahmi Fadzil, myasylum etc.

Internet Blackout Day pop-up is also being supported by news sites Free Malaysia Today, Malaysiakini, Digital News Asia, The Nut Graph, bfm, Merdeka Review, and party organ news sites Harakah Daily and Keadilan Daily. Supporters from commercial/entrepreneurial sector include lelong.com.my, entrepreneurs.my, nexusmediaworks and MOL. From the online resources & community sector, cari.com.myanixekai.com, LoyarBurok, mobile88, jbtalks and edu.joshuatly.com

The pop-up will also appear on these civil society organisation websites: SUARAM, Women’s Aid Organisation, ALIRAN,Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU), Research for Social Advancement, Relevant Facts, Sparkling Analysis (REFSA),Sinar Project, SEACeM, Tindak Malaysia, Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), Lawyers for Liberty, Perak Women for Women, Empower, Women’s Centre For Change, All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), Sisters in Islam (SIS) and more.

On Twitterverse, the campaign is also supported by @sultanmuzaffar – who has 248,119 followers and @klubkiddkl with 223,105 followers.

The Blackout Day has also received international attention — highlighted in tweets by popular whistle-blower WikiLeaks and global digital freedom NGO Access Now.

Scheduled for 14th August, the Internet Blackout Day initiative is aimed to create awareness among Internet users about the negative impact of the amendment on online expression. Malaysia’s first Internet Blackout Day takes its cue from similar efforts in the United States and New Zealand in support of internet

On 14th August, internet users who visit participating websites will see a pop-up window which contains the message of the campaign. In addition, Netizens can change their profile pictures/avatar on Twitter and Facebook to black or use downloadable images provided by CIJ.

Section 114A, otherwise known as Evidence (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2012, was passed by Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara in April this year and was gazetted on 31st July by de facto law Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

The amendment has raised concerns from many parties such as lawyers, activists and Internet-based businesses. Under Section 114A, an Internet user is deemed the publisher of any online content unless proven otherwise. It also makes individuals and those who administer, operate or provide spaces for online community forums, blogging and hosting services, liable for content published through its services. This presumption of guilt goes against a fundamental principle of justice – innocent until proven guilty – and disproportionately burdens the average person who may not have the resources to defend himself in court.

The amendment’s wide reach will affect all internet users, websites which provide space for online comments, and any business premises which give free Wi-Fi access to their customers.

In addition, the new amendment was passed despite the fact that existing laws — including the Computer Crimes Act 1997, Sedition Act 1948, Defamation Act 1957, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 — have been used to arrest and charge in court those who commit defamation, criminal defamation, fraud and sedition online.

For more information about the Internet Blackout Day and to take part in the campaign please visit:

1. the official blog at stop114a.wordpress.com

2. the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/evidenceamendmentact.

3. Stop 114A’s Twibbon page for Twitter: http://twibbon.com/join/Stop-114A

4. Stop 114A’s Twibbon page for Facebook: http://twibbon.com/cause/Stop-114A/facebook

For additional information, please contact CIJ via e-mail at cijmalaysia@gmail.com or call us at 03-4023 0772.

Background to the Campaign

The Internet Blackout Day is part of a campaign to call for the withdrawal of the new Section 114A in the Evidence Act 1950, otherwise known as Evidence (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2012. It began on 31 May, 2012 when CIJ launched an online petition to call on the government to withdraw the Evidence (Amendment) (No. 2) Act. The petition, which received more than 3300 signatures, was handed over to the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department V.K. Liew in Parliament on 26 June, 2012.

CIJ also organized a public forum on 12 June, 2012, entitled ‘Section 114A Evidence Act: Crime-busting or Online Control?’ with a lawyer, an online activist and tech experts discussing about the repercussions of the amendment.

On Aug 11, 2012, CIJ, with National Young Lawyers Committee and Pusat Rakyat LoyarBurok co-hosted a discussion on legal implications of Section 114A with three lawyers and Member of Parliament and Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

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Guess who’s not ready for debate?

Malaysians aren’t ready to indulge in public debates because they’re not mature enough, so says former premier Mahathir rather patronisingly. He made the comment in relation to the proposed debate between the Prime Minister and the PM-in-waiting.

If we reflect upon our country’s past especially the era under Mahathir’s reign, we would find that Malaysians had been made out to be so “immature” by the paternalistic federal government that their freedom of expression, assembly and association had to be curtailed to a large degree for their supposedly collective good!

Incidentally, could this be the reason why, for instance, many of the so-called TV forums have cardboard characters indulging in televised debates?

In the meantime, as if taking no heed of the Perkasa patron’s advice, the right-wing boss Ibrahim Ali appears to be quite “mature” enough to challenge Lim Guan Eng to a debate.

What lies before us

On the eve of Valentine’s Day when the Malaysian authorities are gearing up to mount a nationwide hunt on “wayward” Muslim couples, ordinary Malaysians were made to understand that there were certain personalities who were apparently embroiled in deceit. Incidentally, tomorrow’s “hunt” is largely to ensure that Muslims, particularly couples, are morally upright.

One instance concerns the case of the Saudi journalist, Hamza Kashgari, who was alleged to have committed blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad and had been deported back from Kuala Lumpur to Saudi Arabia to face the music. Human rights group, Lawyers for Liberty, had asserted that Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein had lied pertaining to this controversy.

Then there’s the case of two ex’s hitting out at each other. Ex-Prime Minister Mahathir accused the former Chief Justice, Mohd Dzaiddin Abdullah, of lying. The latter claimed that the judiciary became subservient to the Parliament because Mahathir “clipped its wings in the 1980s when he amended Article 121 of the Constitution”.

Of course, we’re not suggesting here that two (or more) lies make a right.

The purpose of education

World renowned MIT Professor Noam Chomsky highlights the importance of helping to develop a questioning and independent mind in a formal education system.

Wanted: Alerts Officer

SEAPA Vacancy: Alerts and Communications Officer

Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) is looking for a dynamic, highly motivated and suitably qualified person to join its team in Bangkok, Thailand as the Alerts and Communications Officer.

Main responsibilities:

  • Monitor and prepare alerts and articles on violations of freedom of expression in the region, in collaboration with member and partner organizations
  • Plan and manage content on the organization and issues advocated by SEAPA for regional and international dissemination using online and offline communication tools
  • Work closely with the Campaign Coordinator to ensure actions and campaigns are communicated widely to stakeholders and effectively mobilized
  • Help develop and maintain an effective communications strategy for SEAPA

Qualifications:

  • Relevant university degree or professional qualification
  • Demonstrated strong writing and editing skills in English
  • Has at least five years’ relevant experience working with the print/broadcasting/online media and has in-depth understanding of media, press freedom, freedom of information and freedom of expression issues across Southeast Asia
  • Good public speaking skills. Prior working experience in NGOs promoting/protecting human rights is an advantage
  • Has a strong command of spoken and written English, and able to speak and write in at least another language of Southeast Asia
  • Familiar with various content management systems and have experience managing online content
  • Able to travel, when necessary, within or outside the region.

Applicants should email a motivation letter, a two-page curriculum vitae, sample work or portfolio, and expected salary, to employment@seapa.org not later than 25 January 2012. Only short-listed applicants will be notified via email.

Check this link: http://www.seapabkk.org/component/content/article/4-programs/100548-vacancy-announcement.html

CLEANLINESS, the movie

Radio, TV warned not to mention B…..

(Photo credit: heartandsowdesigns.blogspot.com)

According to a report from The Malaysian Insider today, Malaysia’s private broadcasters were warned not to mention (read: censor) about the planned Bersih 2.0 rally, but at the same time they should warn ordinary Malaysians not to take to the streets.

In other words, increase the reality gap in the mainstream media.