Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Internet filtering: A Do or Don’t?

I read in the papers last week about the proposal by the Minister of Information Datuk Seri Rais Yatim to implement Internet filter in Malaysia. I know that this has raised much debate among the public on the line or in the papers. In recent years, Internet has been a very important source of information especially after the mainstream media is said to have been strictly under scrutiny in some countries. According to the statistics, there are rough estimation of 15.8 million Internet users in Malaysia in year 2008, out of the total Malaysia population of nearly 26 million. This means that there are about 62.8% Internet users that will be affected if the net censorship is implemented.

Right now, most of the people felt that it is inappropriate for the government to implement net censorship since China’s Green Dam Internet filter system has met with a lot of resistance and condemnination. Although Rais Yatim has given assurance that the filter was only to censor pornography information, many Internet users are still unable to accept it since they believed that the filter will somehow affect their access to the Internet and there will be more restriction in expressing their thoughts or receiving online information.

As a blogger myself, of course I do not wish to see my articles having to wait for green light from the censorship board before it could be published online. But I do have confidence in the Prime Minister Najib who has said that the government will NOT censor the Internet because it will be ineffective in a borderless world where information flows freely. I applaud the statement from the PM, not because he is the PM, but because what he said does make sense. We are living in a borderless world where competition is intense. Without Internet, we will be handicapped to compete with others and be left behind.

If blocking the online pornography were the main cause to the introduction of the Internet filtering system, then a general Internet filtering system would be an overkill. In fact, the suggestion by the Terengganu state government to use special software on e-Books to curb access to pornographic sites is a much better idea. The PM should walk the talk and that is no Internet filter system.


新闻部长莱士雅丁上周对媒体证实,可能在国内实行过滤互联网的措施。我相信这项建议势必引起各界激辩。近年来,互联网是一个非常重要的信息来源,尤其当一些国家严格管制主流媒体后,互联网的角色更显得重要。


2008年的统计显示,在马来西亚近2千600万人口当中,有1千580万名互联网用户。这表示,“网滤”政策一旦实行,将有62.8%的国人受影响。

目前,多方一致认为在我国实行“网滤”不恰当,更何况中国的“绿坝计划”在推行后掀起千层反对声浪。

尽管莱士雅丁保证政府只会过滤和封锁色情网页,但过滤互联网的建议仍无法让许多网友接受,他们始终相信,有关措施将影响浏览和搜寻功能,限制网上讯息接收和传送。

身为一位博客,我当然不愿意看到,我的文章在网上发布前必须经过网滤局审查。但我对首相纳吉日前表示政府不会过滤互联网的声明有信心,也希望首相能确保“绿坝”不会实行。

我们生活在竞争激烈、信息自由流通的无疆界世界,没有互联网,我们将无法与他人并驾齐驱,甚至面对被淘汰的命运。

相比下,丁加奴州政府提出为学生使用的电子书装置特殊软件,遏制学生通过电子书浏览色情网站的建议更可行。

7 comments:

Nick Chan Abdullah said...

great firewall of malaysia will cost the country tens of millions of ringgit every year to setup and maintain. it is extremely costly, and it doesn't work well !

Pearls said...

For the life of me I cannot understand why Malaysians and its government will always resort to banning/censoring in the name of protecting the young. Sigh... This is 2nd half of 2009 already and not 1935!! Banning or censorship is not the way to go about anything anymore.

The answer to counter bad things is thru education. Parents have to play their role in keeping pornography away from their children. Parents have to educate their children on such things. Parents have to throw away all their hangups about sex and educate their children. Parents cannot take the easy way out by expecting the government or anyone else to play their role and that is by banning/censorship and just feel relief about it.

Sigh, as a parent, I know it is not easy to educate your kids on such things but it can be done with tremendous success if you are open and frank with your kids. If you are willing to listen and educate your kids correctly, your kids will not find any reason to browse such "exciting" websites.

As for the government...Rais Yatim, unless you are bluffing about this pornography nonsense, I dont think such move is wise but than again, you are such a cow, you wouldnt understand such modern forward thinking logic!

amoker said...

So, which is which? Who is lying about the real intent?

Internet filter or mgmt of website content is already available even via TMNET. Why bother to spend so much money on a so called research?

talkosong said...

I think most malaysian have grown up and they know too well what is good for them and their children. Nowadays adults and kids are more matured and not like in the olden days where people have to build fires to keep the wild animals away.

To hide behind censorship and cry wolf is like giving sweeties to kids and ask them not to cry.

I believe what Najib and Tun Mahathir said is nothing but the real truth. "we will not censor internet".Thanks!

kenny said...

The answer is very simple. Projects and contracts. The cronies can count the money from the contract. So why not filter the Internet?

This is Malaysia, mah.

Anonymous Says said...

Compare Malaysia to China. What are the differences ? China controls what goes through in their internet. China imprisons people whom they think are a national threat. In fact, come to think of it, we have more similarities. They have the Tiananmen incident. We have the Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman incident. So a person's thoughts get polluted. A man rapes because of what ? Look at RTM's programmes filled with women wearing sexy clothings. What does not Datuk RY issues a decree making sure all the programmes and all the personalities look and appear holy ? Even if there are no other influences, somehow the man and the woman will dream away. If there is one who does not dream, one is better off living in some unknown parts of the world all by himself or herself. Don't just think that school children are exposed to bad materials only in the internet. They are exposed to bad attitudes too. They are exposed to obscene words too. They are exposed to impoliteness too. They manifest these in their real lives. For the love of the nation, we take away the internet, the MSC and we go back to once upon a time when it is so much easier to control. Why don't we ? Or may be at the end of the day, the one person who can control you is you yourself. You can choose to grow up and think maturely.

Tuanku said...

Hi! Dr Chua,

Yes,Pakatan Rakyat won again to force the old BN goons and its outdated leaders to drop their "kolot" proposal of Internet filtering or Malaysian Green Dam.

The Government has cancelled its controversial plan to install filters at the country’s Internet gateways after a public hue and cry. It is the Bloggers like Tun Dr M supported Pakatan Rakyat champion for 1Malaysia Malaysians for all races.

Well, Pakatan Rakyat will see how BN will impose another dragonian law to ensure Malaysia will use existing laws to prevent Internet abuse instead of putting in place the special filter to limit web use as confirmed Information, Communications, Culture and Arts Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

As Malaysians approach the 52nd anniversary of Malaya’s independence, Malaysians need to show that they are capable of being truly independent by thinking for ourselves and discerning the good from the bad demons. Most importantly, we must show we cannot be easily fooled anymore from BN politicians or any other racist leaders.

The world is moving forward in developing their English, Science and Internet Technology to see India, China, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand are far ahead of Malaysia today. But the outdated BN leaders are still pursuing old strategies of playing racist, coward, ISA, religion, divide and rule approaches to silent the nation. What a great SHAME 1Malaysia political slogan ?

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