Malaysia has decided the best way to stop cyber bullies is to turn the justice system on its head.
Instead of making the victims prove who were their attackers, they just have to make an allegation and the accused has to prove it was not them.
According to the Star, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission says it is almost legally impossible to take action if all that a person has to do is to deny any responsibility.
Commission chairman Datuk Mohamed Sharil Mohamed Tarmizi said cyber bullies and stalkers who often use “the cloak of anonymity” have got away because of lack of evidence.
He has just made an interview on the amendment to the Evidence Act passed by the Dewan Rakyat which pushes the burden of proof to the accused.
He said that owners of Internet accounts where hate messages had originated could easily rebut charges against them if they were innocent.
Witnesses that can prove you were nowhere near your computer or any other communicating device at the time the message was sent out, you can get off, Sharil said.
But a flat denial from the accused cannot work anymore, he said.
Under the law, if a person’s name, photograph or pseudonym appears on any publication depicting themselves as the author, the are deemed to have published it.
If a posting comes from an Internet or phone account, the owner is deemed to be the publisher unless the contrary is proved.
Sharil said the authorities would still have to carry out rigorous and thorough investigations before charging anyone.
A minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, said it was difficult to prosecute offenders before the amendment to the Act.