Nazri: Internet users must be more responsible for own actions

(The Star) – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has dismissed claims that the newly-amended Evidence Act was unfair to Internet users.

“Freedom of speech comes with greater responsibility, so all it means is that you have to be careful.

“When you use online media Facebook or Twitter it comes out and everyone gets to know about it. Users must be more responsible as your actions may affect others,” Nazri said.

The Padang Rengas MP said that freedom of speech did not mean that slander was acceptable.

“Sometimes with slanderous or libellous statements online, it is difficult to enforce the law against them because it isn’t easy to find the person who first put the information on the Internet, which results in no action being taken but a person has been aggrieved.

“Under the amended Act, we shift the burden to the owner of the laptop or account so that we can get to the source,” he said.

The Malaysian Bar, however, said they were concerned with the presumption of guilt in the Act.

Bar Council chairman Lim Chee Wee said they intend to engage Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail about it.

“When the Bar considered at first glance the various amendments to criminal law, most of which dealt with security laws, we were concentrating on that aspect of it.

“The A-G has indicated that he is open to further discussion, and this engagement policy is positive. We are preparing our comments for the A-G,” he said in an e-mail.

Internet users have criticised the amendment, saying it was unfair as websites and social networking accounts could be easily hacked to post defamatory statements.

Recruitment executive Geraldine David, 27, said it was “very dangerous” to penalise people for posts on personal networking accounts, such as Facebook, as it was easy to hack into such accounts.

“It is so easy to hack into e-mail or Facebook accounts these days. Some people may forget to log off their accounts after using public computers, making them easy targets,” she said.

However, some users agreed with the amendment, saying it was logical that the person whose name was associated with the account be held responsible for statements made on the account.

“Your account is linked to you. Do not share passwords with your friends. If it was not you, then you need to prove it,” said a user.