Internet blackout to protest against Evidence Act
Posted on August 14, 2012, Tuesday
KUCHING: It is Internet Blackout Day for some websites, netizens and politicians today in their effort to campaign against the newly introduced Section 114A to the Evidence Act 1950.
According to a press release by Centre for Independence Malaysia (CIJ), the Bar Council has confirmed taking down their website (http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/) to support this while the DAP is shutting down all websites administered by them and will not be updating their Facebook and Twitter accounts today.
Bloggers who have pledged to support a pop-up to promote the Stop 114A campaign include Marina Mahathir, Hishamuddin Rais (Tukar Tiub), Uppercaise, Nat Tan, Niki Cheong, Anil Netto, Juana Jaafar, Sarawak Bloggers, Fahmi Fadzil and myasylum.
The pop-up will also appear on these civil society organisation websites: Suaram, Women’s Aid Organisation, Aliran, Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU), Research for Social Advancement, Relevant Facts, Sparkling Analysis (Refsa), Sinar Project, SEACeM, Tindak Malaysia, Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), Lawyers for Liberty, Perak Women for Women, Empower, Women’s Centre For Change, All Women’s Action Society (Awam) and Sisters in Islam (SIS).
CIJ also claimed the Blackout Day has received international attention as highlighted in tweets by popular whistle-blower WikiLeaks and global digital freedom NGO Access Now.
Scheduled for today, the Internet Blackout Day initiative is aimed to create awareness among Internet users about the negative impact of the amendment on online expression.
Malaysia’s proposed Internet Blackout Day takes its cue from similar efforts in the United States and New Zealand in support of internet.
Today, internet users who visit participating websites will see a pop-up window which contains the message of the campaign. In addition, netizens can change their profile pictures/avatar on Twitter and Facebook to black or use downloadable images provided by CIJ.
Section 114A, otherwise known as Evidence (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2012, was passed by Parliament and the Senate in April this year. It was gazetted on July 31 by de facto law Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
CIJ further stated the amendment has raised concerns from many parties, such as lawyers, activists and Internet-based businesses. Under Section 114A, an Internet user is deemed the publisher of any online content unless proven otherwise.
It also makes individuals and those who administer, operate or provide spaces for online community forums, blogging and hosting services, liable for content published through its services.
CIJ opined this presumption of guilt goes against the fundamental principle of justice — innocent until proven guilty — and disproportionately burdens the average person who may not have the resources to defend himself in court.
The amendment’s wide reach will affect all internet users, websites which provide space for online comments, and any business premises which give free Wi-Fi access to their customers.