Online freedom monitor confirms MCMC behind latest site block
Sinar Project says data indicates that blocking occurred on networks run by several ISPs which redirected users to a server maintained by MCMC.
(MalaysiaNow) – An online freedom monitor today confirmed that the blog of former MP Wee Choo Keong, which has been inaccessible since July 24, has been blocked by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), an agency under the communications and digital ministry.
Sinar Project, part of the Internet Monitoring Action Project which monitors restrictions to internet freedom in several countries including Malaysia, said it began running test measurements and analysing data following MalaysiaNow’s report on July 25 that http://weechookeong.com/ had been blocked.
“As of July 27, data on OONI indicates that blocking occurred on networks run by four internet service providers (ISPs) which redirected users to a server maintained by MCMC,” it said, listing Maxis, TM, U Mobile and YTL.
“This would have resulted in users facing difficulties in accessing the website.”
OONI refers to open observatory network interference.
Sinar Project said in a statement that the test data measurements from OONI confirmed that several Malaysian ISPs were implementing what appeared to be an MCMC-mandated block.
“The data on OONI was collected through the OONI Probe App by Sinar Project and various volunteers.
“A confirmed blocking on OONI shows that there has been DNS blocking on the website, whereby the DNS had been tampered to redirect to MCMC’s IP address: 184.108.40.206,” it said.
It added that at the time of writing, the data indicated that the blog was still accessible for Celcom, TIME and Digi users.
Wee’s blog was the latest site to be blocked, following restrictions last month on MalaysiaNow as well as MalaysiaToday, a website run by prominent blogger and government critic Raja Petra Kamarudin.
MCMC, which is under the purview of Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, has not responded to repeated queries from MalaysiaNow for an explanation of the 48-hour block which began on June 27.
Fahmi himself was reported as saying that no orders were given for the block of any news portal, although he, too, has ignored all questions from MalaysiaNow.
His aides meanwhile denied any knowledge of or responsibility for the incident.
MCMC, the country’s internet regulator, is empowered to instruct ISPs to block “undesirable” websites. In the past, such blocks were extended to news portals and websites critical of the government.
Wee said yesterday that he would take legal action against MCMC if his blog was not unblocked within 24 hours.
Lawyers for the former MP for DAP and PKR said he was not officially informed by MCMC that his blog had been blocked, or on what basis access was denied.
They also said that his blog, which he began in 2008, had never published any article which threatened national security or interest, and that throughout the past 18 years, MCMC had never contacted or informed him that he had violated any statutory regulations or rules under the agency.