Government monitoring blogs closely says Rais

(The Star) – Special units have been set up under both the Home, and the Information, Communications and Culture Ministries to monitor blogs and ensure that the content adheres to local laws.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, who is in charge of the communications portfolio, said both ministries would also exchange information between themselves to ensure maximum monitoring.

Besides monitoring, Dr Rais said his ministry also held meetings and dialogues with bloggers and website operators to inform them about government policies.

“We inform them about the various laws that they should be aware of when they blog, especially those relating to racial harmony and national security.

“We also remind them about the existence of legislation such as the Sedition Act, Defamation Act and Internal Security Act,” he said.

Earlier, he told both Shamsudin Mehat and Datuk Dr Yeow Chai Thiam that the Government would adopt an “open approach” towards the new media.

“The Government encourages people to use the internet to search for information and knowledge as this helps to increase the broadband usage in the country,” he said.

Dr Rais said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission also organised programmes to promote awareness on proper usage of internet, such as cyberspace security, publication of articles, interviews in electronic media and in advertisments.

To a question from Ahmad Hussin whether the Government intended to draw up a code of ethics for bloggers as they had the power either to unite or wreck society, Dr Rais said the Home Ministry would monitor the bloggers under the Printing and Publications Act.

“My ministry will monitor these blogs under the Communications and Multimedia Act,” he said.