Ministry Cannot Stop Malaysiakini From Publishing Letter

18 January 2003

Deputy Home Minister Chor Chee Heung said today that his ministry does not have the right to stop malaysiakini or anyone from publishing their articles or views on the Internet.

This was because those wishing to run news portals on the Internet were not required to get a licence from the ministry, he told Bernama.

“If anyone is aggrieved or offended by news published over the Internet, they can lodge a police report and we will investigate,” he said.

Chor was commenting on Umno Youth’s call to the ministry to act against malaysiakini over a letter it carried which Umno Youth claimed had equated the movement to the white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan, of the United states.

Umno Youth information chief Azimi Daim lodged a police report yesterday alleging sedition over the letter which he said also questioned the Malay privileges.

Free and open debate

Malaysiakini editor Steven Gan had explained that the online daily’s policy with regard to the letters forum is to encourage free and open discussion on controversial issues.

“But that does not mean we publish letters without due care. We exercise a strict selective process in which letters that are considered personal attacks or those which could possibly breach existing laws are left out,” he said.

“We believe that the said letter did not carry any seditious remarks that could incite racial violence, but was based on a factual comparative study.”

Chor suggested that Umno Youth send a copy of the police report to the ministry for investigation.

He said, however, that the ministry could act against any party or invididual who spread news or articles over the Internet with intention to undermine security and racial unity in the country.

All media should play a positive role in nation building and not ignore national integration just to attract readers, Chor added.

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