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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Emulate Singapore's licensing on news websites: JMM

(Bernama) -- The Malaysian Malay Network Organisation (JMM) president Azwan Din Hamzah said Malaysia should learn from Singapore which wants to impose licensing on all news websites in the republic to avoid any 'disruption' to racial and religious harmony.
Describing the move as the best measure to protect the sensitivity of al races, he said, it would also facilitate the government in monitoring of the news, as well as take action against those responsible for disseminating news containing seditious elements.
"Whoever, including agencies, which want to provide news, can do so, but they have to apply for licence and the government should not be strict in issuing the licence, so as not to restrict the freedom of speech," he told Bernama here today.
He said the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) also should play a more effective role in detecting the international IP addresses used to disseminate articles of seditious nature to the people in the country.
Effective June 1, websites with 50,000 visitors from Singapore a month and which produce at least a local article a week will be required to obtain annual licence from the Media Development Authority (MDA) in the republic.
An international news agency quoted a statement by MDA which required websites which are issued the licence to remove the prohibited articles within 24 hours after being told to do so.
A RM50,000 bond guarantee is required for the licence. Associate Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), said the proposed move by Singapore could be good for the republic, but not a solution in Malaysia.
"If our government wants to adopt a similar approach, it can have a huge impact on some quarters as the licence is costly.
"Certainly, there will emerge quarters trying to promote other ways to avoid cyber crimes or provocations through websites or blogs," he said when contacted by Bernama here today.
As such, he said, if would be better for Malaysia to adopt a more proactive measure.
Meanwhile, Prof Dr Ahmad Tarmizi Talib, from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), said the plan by Singapore could be implemented by Malaysia only if experts in information technology could find a way of preventing the dissemination of such news on social webs.
Imposing licence could control infringement of the laws, but would withdrawing the licence or imposing fine deter them from continuing to publish or post news which contained negative elements, he added.

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