KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1:
Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called for the government to censor the Internet and press freedom fearing that freedom of expression would be open to abuse.
“Not knowing the power of the Internet, I promised that we (speaking as the prime minister of Malaysia then) would not censor it. But today I have changed my mind.
“I have done so because the players, including those controlling the servers have been applying their own censorship of what can appear in this alternative media. I myself have suffered from such censorship,” Dr Mahathir said in his blog posting, today.
Citing social networking giant Facebook having blocked links to his blog chedet.cc. last week, Dr Mahathir admitted that there have numerous attempts by various parties to block access to his blog.
“When I put on my blog, an article on the Jews, without any explanation, my article was prevented from being linked to Facebook.
“But that is not all. I first used the internationally available platform to host my blog. When hundreds of thousands visited my blog, suddenly the platform rejected hosting my blog site,” he said adding that despite changing servers and platforms three times, numerous spam and virus attacks continued in his blog.
The former prime minister said that by blocking one’s blog, the people who hosts these platforms and servers are able to censor more than the government could currently exercise.
“Blocking is of course a form of censorship. The Internet is not the free alternative to the state-controlled print and electronic media it is touted to be,” he said.
Dr Mahathir also claimed that there is no freedom of the alternative media as the truth is that the governments, owners of servers and platforms and assorted others can censor the alternative media.
“It is actually less free than print and electronic media operating under government licences.”
He suggested that the press needed to be censored because freedom of any kind will always be open to abuse, the worse being in the field of morality.
“The Internet has played a major role in undermining public morality. Our children are not safe from the kind of filth that the print and electronic media promotes.
“Today any child can access pornography of the worse kind. Children are no longer safe from sexual assault. So are young girls and boys as the Internet arouses the kind of base feelings that we curbed before,” he said.
Mahathir expressed his fears that in the name of freedom of expression immoral activities such as incest, child sex, sex with animals, sexual parties, sex in public will promoted on the Internet.
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or LGBT is openly touted as a part of human rights. We accept that some people are born with indeterminate sex. They were forced to hide their unusual proclivities.
“But now that LGBT is accepted, normal people have also taken up the practices of those who were born handicapped and worse still certain religions have abrogated the injunctions of their religion against abnormal sex so as to be seen to be keeping up with the times,” he added.
Chedet was the pseudonym that Mahathir used when he first wrote to the newspapers in 1947 to express his thoughts and opinions on politics, governance and international issues.
Citing censorship from the government, Mahathir took to blogging in 2008, four years after he stepped down as prime minister.