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Watchdogs: If even online media muzzled, who will keep Putrajaya in check?

Expanding government surveillance on the media to include independent online news outfits would not only take away what little press freedom Malaysia currently enjoys but render it near impossible for the public to hold Putrajaya accountable to abuses, several groups said.

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Sinar Project's Tan Sze Ming pointed out that Malaysian laws already give the government sufficient control over the media while journalists themselves are bound and guided by a code of ethics.

“As we all know, the public can enjoy only a little more freedom in online news portals compared to the mainstream printed media,” -  Sze Ming

She cautioned that registration requirements akin to those used in Singapore would only lead to online portals imposing “self-censoring” and filtering out content, which would cause the public to be unable to hold the government accountable due to a dearth of information.

She warned that Putrajaya could wield the new law arbitrarily and target only opposition-friendly websites.

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Story Type: News

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