Malaysia Mulls Laws against Bloggers

KUALA LUMPUR ~ Malaysia may introduce tough internet laws to control bloggers and prevent them from spreading “disharmony, chaos, seditious material and lies” on their websites.

Deputy Science and Technology Minister Kong Cho Ha said moves such as registering bloggers would be difficult, but accused some writers of posting controversial articles to attract readers.

“We are talking about creating cyber laws to control those who misuse the internet,” Kong was quoted as saying in the Star newspaper on Sunday.

“We need to have stricter cyber laws to prevent these bloggers from disseminating disharmony, chaos, seditious material and lies,” he said.

Kong cited the posting of a photo on an opposition politician’s website last month of a Muslim male and Muslim female lawmaker, reportedly showing the man in a bathrobe with the woman lying on his chest, in what appeared to be a hotel room.

The photo sparked a political scandal, since the two were not married, with accusations the pair had committed the Muslim sin of khalwat, or close proximity, when two unmarried people of the opposite sex are alone in each other’s company.

“We want our bloggers to be responsible, to keep within the rules and not put up seditious articles that can create disharmony and chaos,” said Kong.

Malaysian news websites and blogs are well known for providing alternate views to mainstream news coverage.

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