Thursday, January 27, 2011

Malaysia may rein in online media

But proposed amendments to publications Act still at early stage, says Home Minister

KUALA LUMPUR - THE Malaysian government is looking into making changes to regulations governing online media, but Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday that the proposed amendments are still at an early stage.
The Home Ministry's secretary-general Mahmood Adam said on Tuesday that the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 would be amended to include online publications, and would be tabled in Parliament as early as March.
The amendments could affect Internet content, blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, he said.
The proposal follows concerns in government circles that online media and blogs are becoming increasingly vocal in attacks on the government and have raised many sensitive issues regarding race and religion.
On the other hand, the government is often reminded by its critics that former premier Mahathir Mohamad had pledged not to censor the Internet in 1995 when he launched the Multimedia Super Corridor, an ambitious plan to draw international cyber investors.
Mr Mahmood's announcement drew widespread concerns from online players and lawmakers. They said if the changes come through, news sites and political blogs that have mushroomed over the past decade could well be subjected to the same stringent rules as print publications under the PPPA, including getting annual licences.
Read the full story in Thursday's edition of The Straits Times.

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