Malaysia mulls Internet laws against bloggers

Now this is scary. A few weeks ago I had a good old rant about freedom of speech, and how disappointed I was to see it in short supply in the United Arab Emirates.

Now it seems Malaysia wants to take things further, proposing to implement a set of laws specifically designed to target bloggers. Proposed initiatives include compulsory registration of bloggers, and harsh penalties for breaches of acceptable use guidelines. Malaysian Deputy Science and Technology Minister Kong Cho Ha was quoted as saying:

We are talking about creating cyber laws to control those who misuse the Internet. We need to have stricter cyber laws to prevent these bloggers from disseminating disharmony, chaos, seditious material and lies.

The irony is that (thankfully) talk like this tends to stimulate other kinds of talk – like how the right to free expression is sacrosanct, and can’t be messed with by some petty little bureaucrat. Like King Canute found, the tide is just too strong. So good luck with that, Mr Kong. Bring it.

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