Monday 13 August 2012

Internet heavyweights rally against Evidence Act change

Several bigwigs in the Internet scene are throwing their weight behind the 'Stop 114A' campaign in a bid to reverse an amendment to the country's Evidence Act that presumes guilty owners of online networks that are misused by others.

One of the most prominent websites to join the fray is the Malaysian portal MOL, an online payment service that has a presence in more than 80 countries worldwide.

NONENetizens visiting websites in support of the campaign by the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) will - for 24 hours - be greeted by a black pop-up with information on the newly-gazetted Section 114A to the Evidence Act.

This pop-up will start appearing when the clock hits midnight tonight.

CIJ executive officer Masjaliza Hamzah (above) said in a statement hours before the start of its Internet Blackout Day that the campaign has gained much momentum, with the backing of prominent websites, top politicians and netizens.

International attention as well

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

Malaysian online stores and are similarly joining the effort while other commercial sites such as and nexusmediaworks are also on board.

Also backing the blackout campaign are popular hangout sites with substantial followings, such as and jbtalks, resource and community sites such as, LoyarBurok, mobile88 and

NONE"The 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, Keadilan Daily and Roketkini.

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

Among those also in solidarity are the Bar Council, Suaram, Women's Aid Organisation, Aliran, Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan, 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) and Sisters in Islam.

Bloggers who have pledged to support the 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, she added.

‘Wide-ranging repercussions for netizens'

The campaign, Masjaliza explained, took the cue from similar efforts in the United States and New Zealand and is aimed at creating awareness among Internet users about the negative impact of the Evidence Act amendment.

The amendment, she said, would affect all Internet users, websites that provide space for online comments and any business premises that give free Wi-Fi access to their customers.

"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 space for online community forums, blogging and hosting services liable for content published through their 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," Masjaliza added.

The amendment was passed by the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara in April and was gazetted on July 31.

More information about Internet Blackout Day can be found on the official Stop 114A campaign blog or its Facebook page.

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