MCMC Confirms Medium And Sarawak Report Are No Longer Blocked In Malaysia
Local access restrictions imposed on the sites have been lifted.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has confirmed that Sarawak Report and Medium are no longer blocked
In a statement today, 18 May, MCMC stressed that the move to block any website is done according to the laws of the country.
It said that the blocking of certain websites are done to maintain public order, adding that restrictions can be reviewed and blocks will be lifted if the reason or criteria of blocking such sites are no longer relevant, in line with current times.
"In the case of Sarawak Report and Medium, there is no need to restrict when the 1MDB report has been made public," the statement read
The 1MDB audit report has been declassified on 15 May, after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad ordered for the Official Secrets Act 1972 seal on the audit report be lifted on 12 May.
MCMC also added that Malaysiakini's live.undi.info website was recently blocked on the evening of polling day on 9 May as it was acting on public complaints that the results and information displayed on the site were inaccurate.
Sarawak Report and Medium had been blocked for about two to three years
Sarawak Report was first blocked in July 2015 after the London-based site reported on the allegations that funds linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) ended up in Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's bank accounts.
The whistleblowing website then resorted to using Medium to post their articles, so that Malaysians would have access to the information related to the issues concerning the matter.
However, when Medium refused a request by MCMC to remove an article that was posted by Sarawak Report on the platform, the authorities proceeded to block Medium in January 2016.
Both the websites were blocked during Najib's tenure as Prime Minister of Malaysia.
MCMC's statement comes after a day local media reported Thursday, 17 May, that the several websites that were previously blocked can be freely accessed again
According to Free Malaysia Today, a total of three websites - Sarawak Report, Medium, and Asia Sentinel - that published critical information related to 1MDB were accessible for viewing without restriction yesterday.
Asia Sentinel was blocked in January 2016 shortly after the site reproduced an article from Sarawak Report, the same one that got the latter's website blocked in Malaysia.
Just yesterday, human rights lawyers' organisation Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) urged MCMC to unblock all websites previously restricted due to political motivation.
"As in any functioning democracy, the fourth estate must be allowed the freedom to both report on and criticise the government of the day and hold it to account.
"The previous administration has greatly wronged freedom of the press and the public as a whole by shutting down these various websites that serve as whistle-blowers and called attention to the government’s wrongdoings," said the NGO's executive director, Eric Paulsen.
Speaking of which, you can read the highlights from the 1MDB audit report that has been released to the public here: