October 1, 2006
A website set up by academics in northern Thailand has been shut down after staging “a high-profile protest against the draft interim constitution,” Bangkok’s The Nation is reporting. The website, Midnight University has provided an important and popular forum for Thais to discuss the virtues and risks they saw in a recent coup that ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Somkiat Tangnamo, the webmaster and “rector” of Midnight University, said the shutdown of the website on Friday night led to the loss of 1,500 scholarly articles provided for free public education. “This particular action is a threat against academic freedom, a threat against press freedom, and a threat against an important public sphere. It in effect removed the public sphere from the society, which is unacceptable and cannot be justified,” The Nation quoted him as saying.
August 11, 2006
The Open Net Initiative, in a recently released study on Vietnam, reports an increase in Internet censorship in the country. ONI’s research finds that Vietnamese officials are particularly bent on filtering content that question the country’s one-party system. ONI also says that, apparently paying close attention to China’s practices, Vietnam’s technical sophistication and effectiveness with respect to its capacity to control Internet content is “increasing with time”.
August 10, 2006
The Kuala Lumpur-based Centre for Independent Journalism is expressing concern over a visit paid by police to the office of independent web-based daily, Malaysiakini.com, on 8 August. The police claimed Malaysiakini had defamed them by alleging police involvement in a pepper spray attack on former premier Mahathir Mohamad. The Bernama news agency reports that police filed a formal report on the Malaysiakini story, so as to enable themselves to carry out a formal investigation. Read the rest of this entry »
August 3, 2006
The Star reports of a warning by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that authors of seditious, slanderous and incorrect postings on the Internet will be detained.
July 31, 2006
Malaysiakini reports on the information minister’s rationale for proposing stricter controls over Malaysian cyberspace–that is, to make the Internet media more credible.
July 27, 2006
Malaysian rights advocates are sounding the alarm over a perceived trend for tightening restrictions on free speech and free expression in the country.
The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) notes that the Malaysian Cabinet has recently directed the media not to report on issues of race and religion. At the same time, the Internal Security Ministry also announced plans to review the restrictive Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA) to extend its jurisdiction to electronic media. These developments meanwhile follow a ban on public discussions about the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion, as organised by a coalition known as Article 11. Read the rest of this entry »
July 11, 2006
A showdown may be looming in Singaporean cyberspace, with the censure of a popular blogger sparking a rare protest in the city state, and the government insisting that the suspension of his column from a state-owned paper is merely consistent with the country’s notorious policies for managing public discourse.
The Agence France Press says supporters of Mr. Brown – whose real name is Lee Kin Mun — gathered at a busy subway station on July 9 ‘for a silent protest at the suspension of his weekly newspaper column after the government criticised his latest satirical piece about high living costs.’ There were at least 30 supporters who turned up at Singapore’s City Hall dressed in brown attire, it was reported from a country where any assembly of at least five people legally needs a police permit. Read the rest of this entry »