PARLIAMENT The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) does not play favourites in enforcing the law on errant websites and bloggers, Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Joseph Salang said today.

NONE"It is not only when it involves government people. On the whole, the ministry and MCMC do not play favourites and will take appropriate action in all cases where we deem the law has been broken.

"We do not play favourites as to who the perpetrators are and who the victims in the bloggers' websites are," Joseph (right) told the Dewan Rakyat during Question Time today.

Answering a supplementary question from Dr Tan Seng Giaw (DAP-Kepong), he said cases would be opened as per the complaints lodged with MCMC by victims of online slander.

"Complaints can be lodged with any enforcement agency, such as the MCMC or police, and even if it involves other ministries, complaints can be lodged and action taken. If investigations reveal no wrongdoing, then no further action will be taken."

In the original question, Ismail Kasim (BN-Arau) asked the ministry to state the numbers of cases and the action taken against bloggers and website operators for slandering government leaders.

Joseph said MCMC investigated 32 cases in 2011 under Sections 211 and 213 of the Multimedia and Communications Act, while the number investigated from January to August this year totalled 74.

Warnings issued, access to sites blocked
Actions taken against errant sites and users included warning notices to site administrators to remove offensive content as well as blocking access to the offending webpages, especially those hosted overseas.

azlanHe said 1,475 sites were blocked in 2011. Another 1,675 were blocked in the first eight months of this year, of which 1,580 were 'phishing' sites.

The regulatory body would continue to monitor online activity in the country and that other than the Communications and Mutimedia Act, existing laws such as the Sedition Act and the Penal Code also applied to offensive content, regardless of the platform, Joseph added.

In recent years, the MCMC, like other government regulatory bodies, has been accused of being used as a tool by the BN to harass the independent online media and go after those who criticise the administration of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Regulatory bodies have been known to investigate organisations making strong criticism of the government.

Recently, human rights NGO Suhakam became the target of several investigations by regulatory agencies, most notably the Companies Commission Malaysia and the Registrar of Societies.

This followed Suhakam's petitioning of the French judiciary to investigate alleged corruption in Malaysia's purchase of two Scorpene submarines from French shipbuilder DCNS.

~ Malaysiakini