Unbridled use of Communications and Multimedia Act violates constitutional rights

0
Social media has been used to spread slander - Graphic: Wikipedia

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) is appalled by the recent arrest of Masyhur Abdullah and strongly condemns the rampant use of Section 233 of the 1998 Communications and Multimedia Act against authors of online postings perceived as offensive.

Recalling the arrest and detention of Khalid Ismath, Wan Fatul Johari, Muhamad Isyraf Shamsuddin and many others, there is a clear trend of the 1998 Act being used in an impulsive manner against those perceived to have intended to annoy or cause hurt online. The trend where the 1998 Act has been increasingly used against members of the public is worrying and has severe implications for freedom of expression in Malaysia.

Acknowledging the need to regulate online postings that can cause serious hurt or damage, Suaram finds the current use of the 1998 Act to be excessive, ill-justified and not meeting the necessary threshold for state sanction. The use of laws that curb freedom of expression must be stringently regulated and only used in the direst of circumstances.

As for the online postings of all those mentioned, none has shown any clear threat to security; neither does any have the capacity to cause any damage to those who were supposedly offended by the remarks made online.

The use of the 1998 Act in such a manner can only be described as excessive and must not be allowed to continue unabated.

Suaram reiterates our stance that freedom of expression must be protected and practised as far as possible and can only be restricted in the direst of circumstances, as recognised by United Nations. Failure to adhere to this would be a clear violation of the rights enshrined in Article 10 of the federal constitution.

READ MORE:  NGOs stand in solidarity with individuals being silenced or censored for dissent

Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suaram.

Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments