MCMC gathers final evidence, charges expected

(Malaysiakini) – The investigation into the “offensive” videos relating to the controversial cow-head protest continued today with the authorities inspecting's servers hosted at Internet service provider Jaring in Bukit Jalil's Technology Park Malaysia.

Malaysiakini's technology manager Danny Hong and senior video programmer Aizuddin Akmal Ahmad assisted five officers from the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) led by Mohd Syukri Jamaluddin (right, in red tie) to make copies of the videos stored in the servers.

The investigation team, which included two digital forensics experts, spent about two hours at the servers farm, where a number of photographs were taken.

Later in the afternoon, Syukri and another officer arrived at the Malaysiakini office in Bangsar Utama, Kuala Lumpur – their fourth visit in the past one week – to record statements from Aizuddin (far right) and chief executive officer Premesh Chandran.

They were at Malaysiakini office last Saturday and on Tuesday and Thursday.

Today's actions by MCMC were to establish a 'digital trail' from the original video footage to the final uploading of the two videos.

"Given the intensive investigations and evidence gathering, we believe that the authorities are adamant in charging Malaysiakini," said Chandran. "On our part, we are preparing to defend ourselves in court.”

Malaysiakini has argued that the videos in question are not intended to offend or annoy anyone, and they were uploaded because of their important news value.

According to Chandran, any action to prevent the airing of such news videos would contravene Section 3 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which states that “Nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting the censorship of the Internet.”

Malaysiakini vows to fight case in court

The investigation by MCMC centres on two video clips published by Malaysiakini – one on the Aug 28 cow-head protest in Shah Alam and the other on Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein's press conference after his meeting with the protesters.

The videos cited were the 'Temple demo: Residents march with cow's head' and 'Hisham: Don't blame cow-head protesters'.

Malaysiakini is accused of contravening the Communication and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 by putting up the two video clips.

The commission had sent a letter last Thursday requesting the independent news portal to take down two 'provocative' videos from its website.

According to MCMC monitoring and enforcement division senior acting director Abdul Halim Ahman, in his letter, the display of both videos on the news portal "is an offence under Section 211/233 of the CMA".

Under the Act, any individual found guilty of publishing content "which is indecent, obscene, false, menacing, or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person" is liable to a fine of up to RM50,000 or a jail sentence.

Editor-in-chief Steven Gan said that Malaysiakini would not remove the videos from the website and has vowed to fight the case in court.