07 August, 2009

Malaysia is considering imposing an Internet filter to block "undesirable" websites ?

Malaysia is considering imposing an Internet filter to block "undesirable" websites, on the grounds of maintaining racial harmony in the multicultural nation.

"It is to keep out pornographic materials and bloggers who inflame racial sentiments. We need to maintain racial harmony. We cannot have full-blown democracy like in the United States," a senior official with the National Security Council (NSC)said.

"We need to maintain racial harmony. We cannot have full-blown democracy like in the United States.

"It is to keep out pornographic materials and bloggers who inflame racial sentiments.

"This country must survive." ( ? )

Malaysia's lively blogosphere has been a thorn in the side of the Barisan Nasional government, which has ruled for more than half-a-century, but was dealt its worst ever results in elections a year ago.

Internet news portals and blogs, which escape tight controls on the mainstream media, were credited as a key element in the swing towards the opposition which heavily used new media to communicate its ideas.

Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim said government's planning to install filter is to block pornographic websites, while dismissing criticisms that the move was the start of other forms of internet censorship. and said the system would reduce Malaysian children's exposure to pornography.

Rais slammed critics of the proposed filter, tagging them as "liberals and supporters of liberalism."

"Look at the situation of countries which had fallen victim to widespread pornography, resulting in child sex," he was quoted as saying by the Star online news portal. "We must attempt to stop this. The government is looking into ways to overcome this."

Rais said the filter system was purely to block pornography and said others who break the law on the internet would have to answer to the country's laws in apparent reference to several anti-government bloggers who have recently been hauled to court after being accused of posting seditious comments on their websites.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said there shall be no restriction on the Internet. In a borderless world where information flows freely,

A ban would lead to dissatisfaction among the people, he said, responding to reports that the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry had called for a tender for an Internet filtering system.

"Up till now there is no change in the Government's Internet policy," said Najib.

“However, we will discuss this matter,”

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