CIJ Launches Stop 114A E-Petition

In defense of Internet freedom, CIJ launched an online petition to urge Parliament to withdraw the Evidence (Amendment) (No2) Act on 31 May.

For promotion, the Facebook page 1Million Malaysians against Evidence (Amendment) (No2) Act was created. As well, CIJ began using the hashtag “stop114a” on its Twitter account. The petition spread across social media, detailing the following:

We, Netizens in Malaysia, call on the Government to withdraw the Evidence (Amendment) (No2) Act 2012 for these reasons:

1. It presumes guilt rather than innocence which contradicts the basis of our justice system. The newly introduced Section 114a goes against the principle of presumption of innocence meant to protect individuals against wrongful conviction and check against abuse of power by the authorities.

2. It makes Internet intermediaries — parties that provide online community forums, blogging and hosting services — liable for content that is published through its services. It can result in the removal of comment functions which has a huge impact on the interactive nature of online media favoured by readers.

3. It threatens freedom of expression online because the assumption of guilt has the chilling effect of promoting fear amongst those who use the Internet as a vibrant, interactive space for democratic deliberations. It also reduces the spaces for posting legitimate comments and opinions.

4. It allows hackers and cyber criminals to be free by making the person whose account/computer is hacked liable for any content/data which might have changed. The more skilled you are at hacking, the more the law protects you by assuming the party being hacked is guilty of the offence.

5. It reduces the opportunity to be anonymous online which is crucial in promoting a free and open Internet. This principle is particularly important to safeguard vulnerable individuals who depend on the anonymous nature of the Internet to protect themselves, e.g. women in situations of domestic violence who may be at risk if they are identified. Anonymity is also indispensible to protect whistleblowers from persecution by the authorities when they expose abuses of power.

6. The amendment is a bad law passed in haste and does not take into account public interest and participation.

It is important to note that this has not been gazetted and therefore it has not been implemented yet. This is why it is essential for us to ask for it to be withdrawn.