The Malaysian Home Ministry is looking to set up a large-scale firewall that would essentially impact all Malaysian Internet users by filtering content that is deemed culturally unacceptable for Malaysians. This firewall would include websites such as YouTube, and the ministry is said to be working closely with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to ensure the censorship is implemented.
Specifically, the Home Ministry is looking to filter video content that the Malaysian Censorship Board deems to contain negative elements. Home Minister Datuk Ahmad Zaid Hamidi stated:
“We want to create awareness among the public, specifically film goers, that the censorship board has a social and religious responsibility to ensure movies adhere to set guidelines.
Content creators have to make sure their content do not lead members of society out of social and religious norms.”
This is in spite of Bill of Guarantee No.7 of the MSC Malaysia Bill of Guarantees, which states that the government pledges “to ensure no censorship of the Internet“.
If this firewall does go up, it will not be the first time content filtration has taken place among Internet users in Malaysia. On several occasions, some content – usually politically-linked – have appeared to be inaccessible by Malaysian users. Notably, the BBC Trending article on the “kangkung fiasco” mysteriously became inaccessible for Malaysians on local Internet service providers, before suddenly becoming available again some time later.
Nevertheless, the Home Ministry is currently already in talks with the MCMC on the matter, and he has personally urged the commission to implement the system “soon” – and if it does go up, this would mark the start of what could be censorship of an unprecedented scale on online content in Malaysia.
(Source: The Malay Mail Online; Featured Image: The Verge)