Online campaigns launched after government takes action against online media.
PETALING JAYA: Opposition to media restrictions has been stepped up, with an online petition being launched to protest against proposed new restrictions, while graphic artists have begun a media freedom campaign in the wake of action against a satirical poster of Najib Razak.
The online petition was opened on Saturday by Aliran, the Penang-based reform group. It is addressed to the communications minister, Salleh Said Keruak.
The petition demands removal of blocks on Internet access to the Malaysian Insider, Sarawak Report, Asia Sentinel and Medium.com; the repeal of the Official Secrets Act; opposition to registration of online news sites and blogs; opposition to proposed stiffer penalties for offences under the Communications and Multimedia Act.
Also on Saturday, a group of graphic artists launched a campaign calling for opposition to restrictions on press freedom.
The group, calling themselves Grafik Rebel Untuk Protes & Aktivisme or Grupa, urged Malaysians to express their views through art and creative works.
The campaign poster highlights previous government suspensions of the weekly magazine The Heat, and business newspapers The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily, as well as last week’s blocks on access to The Malaysian Insider web site.
Last year, the government ordered blocks on the Sarawak Report web site, Asia Sentinel, and Medium.com because of reports about 1MDB and Najib Razak.
On Thursday, the Insider was blocked after it published a report quoting an anonymous source who claimed that there was enough evidence to charge the Prime Minister, Najib Razak, over the movement of funds in 2013 from government-linked SRC International, then a subsidiary of 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
Grupa described the block on the Insider as “another blatant attempt by desperate elites to stifle free speech on the pretext of national security.”
The group came together for the Bersih rally last year and issued publicity posters for the rally. Last month, they posted satirical images and posters of Najib in solidarity with activist and artist Fahmi Reza, using the slogan #KitaSemuaPenghasut (we are all seditious).
Fahmi has been called up by police after a report was lodged against he posted an image of Najib as a clown