In Malaysia, Freedom of the (Virtual) Press

When thousands of protesters calling for electoral reform took to the streets here July 9, Malaysiakini, one of Malaysia’s most popular news Web sites, received 5.2 million hits, making the day one of the site’s busiest since it was established in 1999.An increasing tendency to seek news online is hardly unique to Malaysia. But here, it is not just technology driving readers to news Web sites. It is also that — by design, and in contrast to countries like China, with its infamous Great Firewall — in Malaysia the Internet operates outside the stringent laws that regulate the traditional media.

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