United States Calls for Freedom of Press and Internet in Malaysia

Reposted from U.S. Department of State Website

Press Statement

John Kirby
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
March 2, 2016

The United States is very concerned by the Government of Malaysia’s recent actions to restrict access to domestic and international reporting on Malaysian current affairs. The Government’s February 25 decision to block online news portal The Malaysian Insider is only the latest in a series of similar efforts against media organizations.

We are further troubled that the Government has not acted transparently nor provided due process to the targeted media organizations and platforms prior to blocking access, and that the Government of Malaysia has initiated criminal investigations against reporters, editors, and publishers from a variety of Malaysian and international media organizations. Of equal concern, many Malaysian social media users face charges for postings critical of the Government and national leaders. Malaysian officials have also publicly described coming amendments to its Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) that would further restrict online space.

The United States and Malaysia have built a strong comprehensive partnership, through which we hope to expand our cooperation on a range of shared challenges. In that context, we urge the Government of Malaysia to ensure that all its laws, existing and future, fully respect freedom of expression, including the free flow of ideas on the internet.

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