The Internet Blackout Day initiative is aimed to create awareness among Internet users about the negative impact of the amendment on online expression.
(FMT) - Malaysian civil society’s effort in campaigning against the newly introduced Section 114A to the Evidence Act 1950 — Internet Blackout Day – went online this morning, having received endorsements from prominent websites, Netizens and politicians.
The latest to endorse the campaign was Bar Council which had confirmed taking down their website today to support this while DAP is shutting down all websites administered by them and will not be updating their Facebook and Twitter accounts all day today.
Tech-savvy DAP politician Lim Kit Siang and lawyer/avid twitter user Edmund Bon have both vowed to go offline for 24hours.
Bloggers who have pledged to support a 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 etc.
Internet Blackout Day pop-up is also being supported by news sites FreeMalaysiaToday, Malaysiakini, Digital News Asia, The Nut Graph, bfm, Merdeka Review, and party organ news sites Harakah Daily and Keadilan Daily.
Supporters from commercial/entrepreneurial sector include lelong.com.my, entrepreneurs.my, nexusmediaworks and MOL. From the online resources & community sector, cari.com.my, anixekai.com, LoyarBurok, mobile88, jbtalks and edu.joshuatly.com
The pop-up will also appear on these civil society organisation websites: Suaram, Women’s Aid Organisation, Aliran, Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU), 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), Sisters in Islam (SIS) and more.
On Twitterverse, the campaign is also supported by @sultanmuzaffar – who has 248,119 followers and @klubkiddkl with 223,105 followers.
The Blackout Day has also received international attention — highlighted in tweets by popular whistle-blower WikiLeaks and global digital freedom NGO Access Now.
‘The logic of 114A’
Bar Council president, Lim Chee Wee when contacted, said the decision to pull out the Malaysian Bar site was a symbolic move.
“It is a substantiative symbol to show that this is the end result of a draconian law.
Activist lawyer Edmund Bon of Loyar Burok.com said: “This can cripple the economy if all participates.
“It will show the impact, width and breadth of Internet in the public sphere.”
Meanwhile the parody accounts of politicians best encapsulated the impact of section 114(A).
Anwar Ibbrahim whose tweet is @anwaribbrahim wrote: “One day @DSamyVellu used the avatar photo of Hitler. He was arrested and accused as Hitler. The logic of 114(A).”
Both twitter handles are parody accounts and do not belong to the real individuals.
The Internet Blackout Day initiative is aimed to create awareness among Internet users about the negative impact of the amendment on online expression. Malaysia’s first Internet Blackout Day takes its cue from similar efforts in the United States and New Zealand in support of internet
On Aug 14, internet users who visit participating websites will see a pop-up window which contains the message of the campaign. In addition, Netizens can change their profile pictures/avatar on Twitter and Facebook to black or use downloadable images provided by CIJ.
Section 114A, otherwise known as Evidence (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2012, was passed by Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara in April this year and was gazetted on July 31, by de facto law Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
The amendment has raised concerns from many parties such as lawyers, activists and Internet-based businesses. 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 spaces for online community forums, blogging and hosting services, liable for content published through its 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.
The amendment’s wide reach will affect all internet users, websites which provide space for online comments, and any business premises which give free Wi-Fi access to their customers.
In addition, the new amendment was passed despite the fact that existing laws — including the Computer Crimes Act 1997, Sedition Act 1948, Defamation Act 1957, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 — have been used to arrest and charge in court those who commit defamation, criminal defamation, fraud and sedition online.