On August 14th, internet users in Malaysia banded together to support the 'Blackout Day' campaign as a protest to the Section 114A amendment to the Evidence Act, which can make a netizen responsible for online content, unless they can prove otherwise. The law would also apply for those who operate online websites and even business who give free Wi-Fi access, liable for possible defamatory content on the Internet.


The campaign, which saw many websites either going offline or hosting black pop-ups messages, helped to not only create a public awareness, but also pressured the government to think twice about the amendment.

Others took to social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The hashtag #stop114a was trending at No 4 locally in Twitterverse, while Facebook users uploaded Stop114a images as profile pictures while prominent figures, from politicians to bloggers, went offline for the day in protest of the law. More than 45,000 people “liked” the official “Stop114A” Facebook page. The blackout also garnered international attention from the likes of online whistle-blower Wikileaks and news portal BBC.

In response, politicians from both sides of the divide have called for a review of the law. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak tweeted from London: "I have asked the cabinet to discuss section 114A of the Evidence Act 1950. Whatever we do we must put people first."

Deputy Youth and Sports Minister and MCA Vice President Gan Ping Sieu also called for the amendment to be reviewed, saying that the new law would "cause hardship to innocent agents caught up in a case of Internet abuse, such as hacking, identity theft or even pranks such as Tweet-jacking'", as well as Internet service providers like cyber cafes.

The Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (Pikom) also echoed the need for a review of the law. Pikom president Shaifubahrim Saleh said the amendment may "appear to lower the bar for the prosecution of potentially innocent parties", and added "The average individual or even some corporations may not have the resources to defend or prove against such allegations or liability."

114A was passed in the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara earlier this year, before being gazetted on July 31. For more info on this act, click here