Porn sites: Najib calls for self-regulation
19th July 2005 (The Star)

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak called on the private sector, schools and cybercafe operators to take it upon themselves to prevent the accessing of pornographic websites on their premises.

"At government departments, we can act against access to such sites. We hope the private sector and schools can take the necessary measures," he said, according to national news agency Bernama.

Speaking to Bernama after opening the "Mediamorphosis: Communication, Technology and Growth" international conference here on Thursday, Najib said prevention could be viewed from a wider perspective - that is, through inculcating good moral values which could serve as a defense mechanism for the individual.

"If our value system is strong, we can differentiate between good and bad. We can decide and make our own choice," he said.

He said present global trends, which transcended borders, made it difficult for the Government to filter all information disseminated through advanced and sophisticated information technology systems.

Bernama reported that earlier, in his speech, Najib had voiced his concern over the free access to millions of pornograpic websites, available to all Internet users.

"As we have heard recently, there are 33 million webpages of pornographic material and Malaysians - including our children - are exposed to 1.5 million unrestricted pornographic sites. How are we to curb this, especially when we are moving to 3G wireless technology?" he said.

Meanwhile CHARLES F. MOREIRA reports that Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha said the ministry has no power to compel cybercafes to install anti-pornography filters.

"That power rests with the local authorities and the Minister (of Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis) had only recom¬mended that cybercafe owners be made to take that measure," he said at Fuji Xerox Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd.s launch of its ApeosPort C6550 I enterprise document-management system here on Thursday.

Dr Jamaludin had last month announced a Cabinet decision to have cybercafe owners install filters to prevent access to online pornography before they are given a licence to operate (see The Star, June 15).

A straw poll of cybercafe operators after the announcement showed that most supported the Cabinet decision (see In.Tech, June 21).

To block such content from its patrons, the cybercafes would need to maintain a blacklist of pornographic websites that would be made inaccessible to the web browsers on its computers.

Kong said it was outside his ministry.s jurisdiction to enforce such a blacklist.

The Government has said in the past that it will not censor the Internet, a commitment made in the Multimedia Super Corridor.s Bill of Guarantees.

It has exhorted Malaysians to practice self-censorship, self-discipline and self-education while surfing the World Wide Web.

However, the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) had proposed early last year that the Government enact laws against online pornography.

MCPF vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye had said that if cybersmut continued to be circulated, it might be time for the Government to take a second look and see whether it could do something about it.

On the other hand, those who are against government censorship of the Internet have argued that "no censorship" does not mean the people are free to indulge in pornography with impunity and with disregard to existing laws. If these laws are breached, the perpetrator will still be liable.