Controlling Access On the Internet

Since the adoption of the Internet as a delivery mechanism for information, there has been much debate about increased access and availability of unsuitable material over the Internet since it acts as a vital source of delivery of information. With the popularity of the Internet comes a whole host of issues concerning children and minors on the Internet.

Censorhip On The Internet?

Legal System

The Malaysian legal system provides that there is no censorship of the Internet by virtue of Section 3 (3) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

Nevertheless the Online environment is not a legal vacuum. In general, if something is illegal 'off-line' is also deemed illegal 'online'.

Placing content on the Internet might give rise to civil liability. An example of where this arises is a person who places content on the Internet that is in breach of copyright, defamation or sedition laws. Content creators should be mindful of laws relating to Defamation, Intellectual Property (including copyright, trade marks, passing-off and patents), Sedition and Trade Description.

Concept of Innocent Carrier

The Forum recognises the concept of "innocent carrier". Code Subjects providing access to any content but has neither control over the composition of such content nor any knowledge of such content is deemed an innocent carrier. An innocent carrier is not responsible for the content provided online.

Having noted that there is no censorship of the Internet in Malaysia, the Forum has stipulated within the Content Code, that Code Subjects should adhere to the Specific Measures and General Measures which help assist online users (parents, legislators, educators and the public) exercise self censorship.

To Monitor or Not To Monitor?

The Forum recognises that it is difficult and ineffective to monitor or control a user's access to content available Online; thus it is left to you, the user, to decide on the nature of Online Content to be consumed and the tools to be utilised in controlling such content. The Forum seeks to assist and educate you, on the availability of filtering tools to control access of material available.

Why Use Filtering Tools?

Filters are computer programs designed to limit access to certain types of content of the Internet. The use of filters is not mandatory in Malaysia either under law or within the Content Code.

Users have discretion to choose whether or not to install filters. The Forum recognises that some families as well as educators are concerned about the quality of the information that students and children access on the Internet. From inaccurate facts to pornography, there are many websites that are inappropriate for children. It is an understood fact that one cannot shelter children from the world and even the strictest filtering software miss many sites you might find offensive.

However, there are a number of different tools and strategies available to end users to enable them to minimise exposure to content that users consider inappropriate for themselves or their families. These include content filtering products and services. There are also links to other web sites that contain further information about ways of managing Internet content.

Filters operate in various ways, and different filters will be better suited to different operating environments and age groups. More information about filtering products and services can be obtained from the links featured on our Useful Links for Parents page.