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114A Law: A Warning Sign For Malaysian Internet Users

The amendment of Section 114A of the Evidence Act has enabled the enforcement authorities to trace the specified person who has uploaded/published any kind of photo/comment/material on internet. When this was supposed to be a great news for the Malaysian internet users, this amendment has submerged Malaysian cyber cafe owners into big trouble.


Section 114A amendment empowered law enforcement officials to hold anyone accountable for publishing seditious, defamatory or libelous content online, as long as the allegedly defamatory content is traced back to one’s username, electronic device and/or WiFi network.

According to the amended law of Section 114A, those people will be counted as the originators of a content who owns a website or administer and/or can edit websites, blogs, and online forums. But this has plunged the website owners or administer into trouble. If something “disharmony, chaos, seditious material and lies” is published on their websites, then the website owners or administer will be sued or charged with criminal defamation. That’s not the end. It will also be checked from which Wi-Fi network and what electronic devices (computer/mobile/tab) those “disharmony, chaos, seditious material and lies” have been published. If someone submits something nasty from a cyber cafe and that is published, then the law enforcement officials can bring the website owner/publisher, the owner of that cyber cafe and the computer from which the submission had done under their custody.

Malaysian activists and bloggers protested against the newly introduced Section 114A to the Evidence Act 1950 with Internet Blackout Day campaign.

This law has already created new concerns about freedom of expression among the internet users in the Southeast Asian nation. At one side, the Malaysian government is saying the law will help to curb online slander and defamation; on the other side, activists are saying that the government is trying to control the freedoms of cyberspace.

Source : Slashdot

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