Censorship in Malaysia: SOPA told through Malaysian Eyes


There’s been a recent surge of Anti-SOPA and Anti-PIPA sentiment over in the Unites States, Wikipedia blacked out it’s entire webpage and Google, Twitter and Facebook all joined in the fray. I’ve even received multiple emails from the Mozilla foundation on how to combat SOPA and recent a congratulatory cum Thank you note from Mozilla for joining the fight. Make no mistake, SOPA isn’t dead, it’s just been shelved for the time being, get ready people round2 starts soon.

In Malaysia though there has been little reporting on the issue, while some local blogs did mention SOPA, and a few newspapers briefly covered it, not much has been discussed on either of the laws. It’s typical of the Malaysian media to report less on matters that actually matter, and more on frivolous material like this article from the New Straits Times that read “Unity is Priceless: PM”. Really? Cause the rest of us thought Unity was worth around about Rm2.75 . I mean apart from pointing out the obvious, the article has absolutely no content, apart from the big picture with the “We Love the PM” nonsense.

That being said, there were a few articles on SOPA and PIPA, however those articles for censored to a certain degree, and here’s how.

This is the open letter that top tech executives and entrepreneurs wrote to Washington to protest SOPA:

An Open Letter to Washington

We’ve all had the good fortune to found Internet companies and nonprofits in a regulatory climate that promotes entrepreneurship, innovation, the creation of content and free expression online.

However we’re worried that the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act — which started out as well-meaning efforts to control piracy online — will undermine that framework.

These two pieces of legislation threaten to:

  • Require web services, like the ones we helped found, to monitor what users link to, or upload. This would have a chilling effect on innovation;
  • Deny website owners the right to due process of law;
  • Give the U.S. Government the power to censor the web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran; and
  • Undermine security online by changing the basic structure of the Internet.

We urge Congress to think hard before changing the regulation that underpins the Internet. Let’s not deny the next generation of entrepreneurs and founders the same opportunities that we all had.

Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google
Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and Square
Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and Hunch
David Filo, co-founder of Yahoo!
Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn
Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post
Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube
Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and co-founder of Alexa Internet
Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal
Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist
Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay
Biz Stone, co-founder of Obvious and Twitter
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation
Evan Williams, co-founder of Blogger and Twitter
Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo!

I took the content of the letter from VentureBeat, but it’s consistent with other reproductions of the letter I’ve seen.

The only person missing here is someone from Facebook, but you get the picture. It’s an entire list of the who’s who in Tech, signing a document protesting SOPA. In the midst of it however, lies a rather straightforward and somewhat painful truth– The Malaysian Government is censoring the internet. In fact everyone from Wikipedia to Twitter to Google thinks the Malaysian Government censors the internet, except of course the Malaysian Government itself.

Now if you don’t believe me, I have proof that it’s at least censoring the mainstream media.

This is a report from the AFP (taken from the Sydney Morning Herald) on SOPA, and snippet of that report refers to the open letter pasted above:

However, in the copy of The Star dated January 19th, page 52, I saw the following:

Conveniently the paper chose to ignore Malaysia on the list of governments censoring the internet. This requires further investigation, for now though I’m thankful I stopped reading the Main Stream Media years ago…looks like you should too.

This picture taken from a facebook posting of a friend says it all:


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