Censor trip: Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea

From time to time, GMSV goes on a censor trip — this time the destination is Asia.

• Malaysia: Activists and bloggers in Malaysia are reportedly blacking out their websites and going silent on social media Tuesday to protest a new law that they fear could leave bloggers and other publishers liable for potentially defamatory comments posted by others. Malaysia’s Centre for Independent Journalism is leading the protest, saying “the amendment enables law enforcement officials to swiftly hold someone accountable for publishing seditious, defamatory, or libelous content online,” according to Global Voices.

• Vietnam: A blogger was jailed Friday in Vietnam, reportedly the second one in a week, after being convicted of “propaganda against the state” for writing online articles advocating democracy. Le Thanh Tung was sentenced to five years in prison. The day before, a teacher/blogger was sent to prison for six years over similar charges by the Communist government.

Last month, the mother of another blogger/former policewoman facing charges of anti-government propaganda died after setting herself on fire in front of government offices, according to the BBC. The trial of that blogger and a couple of others was then reportedly delayed.

• South Korea: The New York Times reported over the weekend about instances of online censorship in “a thriving democracy and one of the world’s most wired societies.” Among the examples: blocking of a Twitter account, accusation of criminal defamation, a firing — all for criticizing the government or its officials. The government’s Internet regulatory board can reportedly delete offending posts online without letting the author know.


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