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Malaysian regulator defends content removal decisions

Malaysia‘s internet regulator has clarified that 72 percent of online content removals were due to gambling and scam promotions.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) rejected claims of being a “state apparatus” to stifle public discourse on government matters.

MCMC Malaysia

“MCMC wishes to stress that its primary responsibility under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA 1998) is to protect Malaysian Internet users and ensure a safe online space for all, especially children,” the statement read.

This response came after veteran journalist R. Nadeswaran, in a June 19th opinion piece, suggested the Anwar administration was using agencies to suppress dissent.

“In his article, the writer cited data from TikTok’s bi-annual ‘Government Removal Requests Report’, implying government and regulatory intolerance of criticism.

“This view is incorrect and does not accurately depict the operations of MCMC and social media platforms,” MCMC stated.

It added that content removal requests are only made when content is believed to breach community standards, the CMA 1998, or other Malaysian laws.

“Content removal decisions are based on social media platforms’ assessments,” it noted.

As of June 13, MCMC reported that 53 percent of its content removal requests across platforms were linked to online gambling.

“Additionally, 19 percent involved online scams, 15 percent were identified as fake news, 6% related to race, religion, and royalty (3Rs), and 5 percent involved harassment.”

MCMC emphasized that content removal is part of ongoing efforts to protect the public from harmful and illegal activities.

“Ensuring a safe online environment is a shared goal between MCMC and social media platforms. To this end, social media platforms routinely and consistently perform proactive removals of content violating their community standards.

“For instance, public data from one social media platform showed that 1.8 million pieces of content in Malaysia were proactively removed in Q4 2023 without any prior request from authorities, for various violations.

“These include content promoting bullying, harassment, privacy violations, hate speech, misinformation, spam, coordinated inauthentic behavior, misinformation interfering with the political process, and highly deceptive manipulated media,” it explained.

MCMC acknowledged that while criticisms of the government or politicians are allowed, there are legal limits to media freedom, especially concerning sensitive issues like race, religion, and royalty.

“We invite the public, civil societies, and the media to continue engaging and collaborating with us to create a safe and secure online environment,” it added.

Frank Schuengel
Frank Schuengel
Frank Schuengel is an online gambling industry veteran with over twenty years of experience in Europe and Asia. Equally at home in the Isle of Man and the Philippines, he started his career as a sports trader before setting up and running whole operations, and more recently focusing on the regulatory and licensing side of things in the worlds of fiat and crypto eGaming. When he is not writing about gambling topics, he can be found cycling around Manila and advocating sustainable transport solutions for a Philippines based mobility magazine.

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