15 July, 2007

Free Nat Tan Now - sign the online petition


- Zorro

Free Nat Tan Now - sign the online petition !!

Here is a link http://www.petitiononline.com/nat2007/petition.html to the online petition asking for the release of blogger Nathaniel Tan, who has been in detention in Dang Wangi police station since 13 July. The petition was set up by those concerned about Nat. Besides you can send the draft letter to the IGP Musa Hassan for the same purpose. Help free Nathaniel!

Dear fellow bloggers, beware ; " Police Asked To Investigate Websites Spreading Lies "

Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Mohd Johari Baharom who himself was slandered on the Internet that he had taken bribes, wants the Police to initiate investigations to trace writers spreading lies through websites.

He said that he had instructed the Police's Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) to undertake the investigations and bring the culprits to book.

"Now all kinds of slander about the nation's leaders are being spread through the Internet. The Police must act to prevent them from tarnishing the image of the country," he told reporters after the opening of the delegates meetings of the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings of Kubang Pasu Umno here today. Umno Information Chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib graced the function.

Bloggers, stand your ground!

Meanwhile, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar of Disquiet wrote :

I am concerned about the arrest and remand of Nathaniel Tan. Media reports suggest that he has been arrested in connection with an offence under section 8 of the Official Secrets Act, or the OSA. If this is true, then the Government must take immediate steps to ensure that Nathaniel Tan is immediately released.

For this, it would be useful for us to get a grasp of what the OSA, and in particular section 8, concerns....read more here.

Do not act against bloggers

by CIJ, 15 July 2007
Source : CIJ
Malaysian government is stepping up its clampdown on bloggers. Within a time period of three days, a blogger was investigated for publishing a photomontage, and another blogger was remanded by the police for four days over a comment posted on his blog. On the same day that the blogger, Nathaniel Tan was remanded, the deputy internal security minister Johari Baharum reportedly said that he had asked police to initiate investigations against writers who were "spreading lies through websites". The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) condemns the deputy Internal Security Minister, Johari Baharum's instruction to investigate bloggers. This order breaches the Federal Constitution's protection for freedom of expression.

On July 14, the national news agency, BERNAMA reported that the deputy minister said he had instructed the police to trace writers who publish lies online. The minister was quoted as referring to writings that criticize government leaders. In March, an anonymous website accused Johari Baharum of accepting bribery for the release of criminals detained under the Emergency Ordinance. He was investigated by the Anti-Corruption Agency and was reportedly cleared of the charge on July 12.

Police suspected that Nathaniel possessed documents on Johari's alleged corruption, and remanded him for 4 days on July 14 under the Official Secret Act (OSA), having detained him since July 13. According to Nathaniel's lawyer Latheefa Koya, the investigation stems from an anonymous comment posted on Nathaniel's blog, jelas.info, that links to a website containing the article from the anonymous website that accused Johari of corruption.

CIJ is deeply concerned that the minister's instruction to police is the start of the government going tough on online critics, particularly those from the opposition. Nathaniel Tan and Tian Chua, who is being investigated by the Multimedia and Communication Commission (MCMC) regarding the photomontage in his blog, are the staff and Information Chief respectively for the opposition party People's Justice Party (PKR).

The deputy minister's instruction smacks of vengeance against bloggers and shows total disregard for freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution. CIJ is worried that the minister's instruction and the remand of Nathaniel Tan will spread fear among bloggers. Clamping down on expression and free flow of opinion is against the Prime Minister's promises of open governance, transparency and integrity. This creates a perception that the government does not uphold its promises, and will tarnish the image of its leaders further.

We urge the government not to take action against bloggers and online writers and to release Nathaniel immediately.

The Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia (CIJ) is a media organization that aims to improve current Malaysian journalism practice and independence through advocacy, research and analysis, training and practical work. Started in 2001, CIJ has initiated various projects in developing grassroots communications skills through training, infrastructural support and direct action.


Issued by

Gayathry Venkiteswaran
Executive Director



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