Monday, July 20, 2015

MCMC must explain why Sarawak Report is blocked?

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, DAP Social Media Strategist and State Asselywoman for Damansara Utama on Monday 20 July 2015.

MCMC Must Explain How the Decision to Block Sarawak Report Website Was Made

We are greatly disturbed by the action of the Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in blocking access to whistleblower website Sarawak Report. We have not forgotten the incident when BBC’s “kangkung” webpage entitled “#BBCtrending: Be careful what you say about spinach” was blocked temporarily in January 2014.

Whether the websites are blocked temporarily or partially, such practice sets a dangerous precedence for Internet freedom in Malaysia. It seems to us that Putrajaya has increasingly abused its power in Communication and Multimedia Ministry to restrict the dissemination of news that are not in favor of the ruling government.

According to the statement by MCMC posted on its Facebook page, its decision to block Sarawak Report was due to the complaints from the public and that it has disrupted national stability. We wonder what is the benchmark of “public complaints” and “national stability” used by MCMC. How many complaints exactly has MCMC received regarding Sarawak Report to trigger such action? How exactly did Sarawak Report disrupt “national stability”?

With that, we call upon the Minister of Communication and Multimedia Dato Sri’ Ahmad Shabery Cheek to disclose the entire decision-making procedures that MCMC used to block the whistleblower site. Failure to do so will prove that the blocking of Sarawak Report is indeed a blatant abuse of power by Putrajaya.

Lastly, we would like to remind Putrajaya that there is no way to hide in the age of internet. Internet is a double-edged sword. If Putrajaya insisted that there is no wrongdoing involved in their handling of 1MDB, then they should use the internet to clarify the dissenting opinions. Sheepishly blocking websites implies only one thing - admission of guilt.