Malaysia too wants to monitor the bloggers

Following Saudi Arabia's decision to closely monitor bloggers and online news sites, Malaysia is proposing guidelines to reign in the blogosphere.

The Malay Mail said on January 27,2011,

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz announced the drawing up of new guidelines, which are to be presented to the public in roadshows nationwide to “make it easier for the public to know what they can and cannot do” online.

Nazri explained the guidelines would provide better understanding of the Sedition Act 1948, Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 and the MCMC Act 1998.

Malaysian bloggers are not happy about the government's desire to control the online media. The Durian-Dr.Jason Abbott's blog on Southeast Asian issues, describes the situation as an example of the  government's shift towards a more authoritarian style when it comes to controlling dissent online,

In September 2008 prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin was arrested under the controversial Internal Security Act that allows detention without trial and held for almost two months. In recent weeks the government announced that they were exploring whether to pass amendments to the Printing Presses and Publications Act which requires all publications to apply for an annual permit from the Home Ministry which can be refused, revoked or suspended at the minister’s discretion without judicial review.

In light of recent mass uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and the role of  online media and social networks in these events, it seems that the Malaysian authorities want to control the horse before it throws off the jockey.

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