Too much 'anonymity' online, Nazri says in backing internet regulation

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz says while the government was fine with being criticised online, those who posted these comments on social media should be responsible for their actions. ― File pic
Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz says while the government was fine with being criticised online, those who posted these comments on social media should be responsible for their actions. ― File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 ― Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has backed the government's plans to regulate the internet, saying it is necessary to avoid people from irresponsibly posting lies and slander online.

The tourism minister said that while the government was fine with being criticised online, those who posted these comments on social media should be responsible for their actions.

“I agree that we have to regulate the internet in the sense that if you open up a Facebook account you should give your real name and IC number,” he told Malay Mail Online in an interview this week.

“There is currently too much anonymity online. Most of us don't mind critics as long as we know who you are.

“If you are going to throw stones, don't hide your hands,” the Umno minister stressed.

He denied that plans to regulate the internet would result in online censorship or a clampdown against government dissent, saying there were “enough laws” in place which guarantee freedom of expression.

“Like online media, you guys give details of who writes articles and stuff, with contacts and addresses, but social media users don't… if we have these details then if someone commits slander we can get to that person and take action against them,” Nazri explained.

“You can criticise online, but don't abuse the human rights of others,” the Padang Rengas MP said.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak recently said that the federal government is mulling the possibility of registering online portals under planned amendments to laws regulating the Internet in the country, similar to the Singapore model.

The newly-minted minister was quoted  saying that he had discussed the matter with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), in a bid to give the regulator “more bite” to block portals that are considered threats to national security.

Salleh — who took over from Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek who has since been moved to the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries portfolio — said changes are needed to prevent crimes that might arise from abusing the Internet, and not to restrict the public’s freedom.

The proposed amendments are expected to be tabled when Parliament reconvenes its next meeting scheduled to start this October.

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