“ … The government has no monopoly over information and the dissemination of information.
“To me, we only have two choices: whether we try to control it or we try to manage and engage the global change. We chose to make Malaysia a progressive country.”
PRIME minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, saying on 16 Feb 2011 that the government would attempt to engage with the role of the internet rather than suppress it. He also reiterated the government’s guarantee not to censor the internet, which was made when the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) was introduced. (Source: Govt won’t suppress cyberspace, says PM, Malaysiakini, 17 Feb 2011)
“But you cannot break the laws. There are laws against sedition and all that. The laws are clear. That’s why I said respecting the constitution which means respect the law as well … As long as you operate within the ambit of the law, that’s fine.”
Najib, at the same event on 16 Feb 2011, reminding the public that internet users are not above the law.
When asked about the proposed amendments to the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA) to include online publications, Najib said the government was still “studying” the amendments and had not made any decision. (Source: Govt won’t suppress cyberspace, says PM, Malaysiakini, 17 Feb 2011)
“We have to expand the Act so that it does not only cover the print media, because the landscape is totally different now, especially with the intrusion of digital technology.”
Home Ministry secretary-general Mahmood Adam’s 25 Jan 2011 announcement on proposed amendments to the PPPA to include internet publications. He said the ministry would look into the definition of “publication”, and whether it should include internet content, blogs or Facebook, in order for the law to keep pace with the changing landscape of the digital era.
Mahmood added that the proposed amendments would be tabled in Parliament by March. This was later contradicted by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who said the amendments were still in the “early stages of discussion”. (Source: Online news sites to be included under PPPA, Malaysiakini, 25 Jan 2011)
“When it comes to a point where the security of the country is affected, then yes, we can [ignore the pledge]. There is no compromise when it comes to national security … everything else will then be secondary, even when it comes to the bill of guarantees.”
“Recently when people talk about freedom of the press and freedom of expression, it means they have the freedom to lie, to commit slander and to do anything, and even if it affects national security, it is okay.
“This is a new phenomenon and this is why we need to tell the public that national security is paramount and they cannot abuse it.”
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Aziz, talking about the government’s “new guidelines” for the internet, which would cover sedition. He said the pledge to censor the internet could be set aside if national security was at stake.
At the same time, Nazri stressed that the new guidelines was not a move to clamp down on press freedom or online communications. (Source: Putrajaya denies new laws for online media, The Malaysian Insider, 27 Jan 2011)
“Young reporters like yourselves need to write news in a way that will attract the readership, who have turned to new media like blogs or Twitter.
“It is your responsibility to bring back readers from reading not-so-accurate reports by new media, and to increase print media readership.”
Information, Communications and Culture Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Seri Kamaruddin Siaraf, speaking to 20 young journalists at a month-long journalism course. He said traditional journalists should lure readers back to the traditional media and away from the apparently less-accurate new media.
However, when asked to clarify his remarks later, Kamaruddin said the traditional and new media had to work “hand in hand”. He said they had to find a way for the traditional media to combat decreasing readership and to cater to the needs of the people. (Source: ‘Lure readers away from inaccurate new media’, theSun, 21 Feb 2011)