As most of you might already know, Irwan Abdul Rahman aka Hassan Skodeng, an editor of the Malay Mail and the owner of the blog Nose4news was charged yesterday.
He was charged under section 233 (1) (a) Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Act. If convicted, he can be fined up to RM50,000 or jailed up to a year, or both.
Section 233 (1) (a) of the CMA states that:
(1) A person who —
(a) by means of any network facilities or network service or applications service knowingly —
(i) makes, creates or solicits; and
(ii) initiates the transmission of,
any comment, request, suggestion or other communication which is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person,
commits an offence.
The reason for his charge was an article he wrote, entitled “TNB to sue WWF over earth hour” earlier this year."
That article, as every reasonable person in the whole universe, with a semblance of any sense of humour and a bit of brain between his or her ears would know, was a satire or parody. It was intended as a joke. But of course, some thick glue on this planet did not get the joke. And so he was charged.
I have not seen the exact charge. But media report, including from the Malaysian Insider reported that he was charged as above.
Now. Let's have a closer look at it.
The question is this. Is the article obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character? And was it published with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person?
Let's not go into intent. Because we all know that Nose4news is modelled on The 0nion, an American news satire organisation. Furthermore, it is already said umpteen times that the article was intended as a satire.
How about obscene? No. It wasn't. But of course, it was obscenely funny. We can also take out "indecent", "menacing" and "offensive" from the equation.
The only thing which might stick then is whether the article was "false."
Here is where it becomes interesting. A good friend of mine - a big wig legal eagle in an international corporation - prompted me to the Content Code of the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia (CMCF).
CMCF mind you, was established by non other than the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission itself. CMCF came out with the Content Code.
The interesting thing about the content code is its Chapter 2 on "Guideline on Content." Item 7.3 of Chapter 2 says:
Content which is false, is expressly prohibited except in any of the following circumstances:
(a) satire and parody;
(b) where it is clear to an ordinary user that the content is fiction."
So, satires and parodies are expressly and very clearly excluded from the definition of "false" content.
This is MCMC's own regulation. And yet they are charging Hassan Skodeng.
Now I am wondering whether this whole charge is a satire and parody of the state all of us are in right now in this blessed country.
No wonder Hassan Skodeng is smiling.
Speaking of charging people, I would like to refer to the dude who doctored the Lim Guan Eng's picture below .
The doctored picture is on the left while the original is on the right.
This publication is surely and definitely false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person. In fact, it is also seditious.
So MCMC, what are you going to do about that picture? If that picture was a joke, it sure as hell is not funny.