Malaysian Parliament passes dumb amendment to the law that will screw you over. Learn up the facts and #Stop114A

What you need to know about #Stop114A in plain English

Imagine if someone posts a defamatory comment on your blog post. He’s the author, but under an amendment to the law passed by Parliament, you’d be held accountable. Also consider:

  • Maybe you offer free wifi at your business premises. Or someone logs on to your home wifi. They post something seditious through your internet connection, you had no idea what was going on.
  • Someone posts something libelous from your phone, iPad or laptop. Maybe it was stolen. Maybe someone was trying to get you into trouble. You had no idea what was going on.

Under the new amendment to the Evidence Act 1950, you have to prove your innocence in the matter. This amendment is called Section 114A – Presumption of Fact in Publication. In plain English, it presumes that you willingly published seditious or libelous content if it was traced back to your computer, website or internet connection.

Instead of being innocent until proven guilty, the amendment makes it so that you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

Learn More about Section 114A

The Center of Independent Journalism has put up a #Stop114A blog, Facebook page and has been educating the public on the ramifications of Section 114A. Here are the Cliff Notes version:

2 minute video explanation

Infographic: How will Section 114A affect you?

How will 114A affect you? Click for full size

Update: Here’s a concise article on what the amendment is: What is Section 114A?

The CIJ has more information on the Stop114A resources page if you want to learn more and get involved.

The CIJ is urging bloggers to put a pop up on their site to spread awareness of the #Stop114A campaign. Personally I think that the pop up doesn’t get the message across, and is difficult for non-techies to implement. Maybe write a blog post instead?

The Bad News

When I learnt about this campaign I thought, “Why are we only talking about it and not taking action?” That’s because the amendment has already been passed in Parliament. Apparently there was hardly any debate.

All this talk about Section 114A now is after the fact, which is disappointing. I think the best thing to do now is to stay updated on developments by following @CIJ_Malaysia on Twitter or Liking the campaign Facebook Page: 1Million Malaysians against Evidence (Amendment) (No2) Act 2012. This way we can get involved more directly when they organize signature drive, public forums, etc.

If you like being able to freely express yourself on the internet, allow others to discuss issues on your website or blog and simply doing cool stuff on the internet without fear of getting into trouble, please support #Stop114A.

P.S. Those of you who are smarter than me, I would love to know what else we can do to repeal this amendment and what other actions we can take. Please post your thoughts and suggestions in the comments. Cover my ass disclaimer: Comments posted on this site belong to their owner, not necessarily the blog author.

Update

There was a small glimmer of hope..

But no cigar

Presumption of fact not new: Rais

See also this great editorial by Digital News Asia Editor in Chief A. Asohan

#Stop114A: It’s no longer about the law, it’s about government

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    […] can read more about the campaign here, or here. My friend David also summed it out nicely in his blog. If you’re have a blog, Twitter account or are on Facebook, get […]