Why Would A Govt Jam The Internet, Mobile Phone Service?

Why should we believe Rais? Most of the BN ministers lie through their teeth to protect themselves and their party. After Bersih 2.0, the Health Minister lied about tear gas being shot into the Tung Shin hospital despite photographic evidence and eye-witness accounts.
Mariam Mokhtar (Malaysian Mirror)
The internet, social networking sites and the mobile phone, can be used to spread news and information quickly, so governments, especially authoritarian ones, have a great fear of the internet.
Access to information and the freedom of expression are fundamental human rights but in Malaysia, those rights are curbed. If various oppressive laws will not prevent people from being critical of the government, then the authorities will resort to underhand tactics to silence dissent.
Around 3 pm on 28 April, the day of the Bersih 3.0 rally, several people were unable to make calls, send text messages or access the internet. Blame was attributed to devices, alleged to be mobile jammers, which many had noticed on four-wheel-drives near Dataran Merdeka.
The MP for Batu Gajah, Fong Po Kuan, asked the Information, Communications and Culture minister Rais Yatim, whether mobile phone service had been intentionally cut off in the area, on the day of the rally. People had claimed difficulties in sending or receiving information.
Rais denied that the government had blocked the communications systems using mobile jammers. He blamed the failure on network congestion and said that the blocked calls were because mobile phone networks could not handle thousands of people making simultaneous phone calls.
He said, "There were more than 20,000 people gathering in a small area according to Bernama. A cellular telecommunications system generally does not have the capacity to accommodate phone conversations and data transfers as was needed during the Bersih rally.
"When these cells are full, the system will reject these (phone) calls, resulting in blocked calls with none of them able to be made.
"Therefore, it is untrue that the government has blocked communications systems (that day)."
Another of his colleagues, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohamed Nazri Aziz has accused the Bersih 3.0 rally of being an attempt by the opposition, to overthrow the government.
"The attempt was carried out through such tactics used at Tahrir Square in Egypt, Green Square in Libya and Martyrs' Square in Syria."
He cited the use of salt and mineral water bottles, used as "shields by the Bersih 3.0 rally participants, as powerful instruments to topple the government and that these items were ‘just as powerful as the mobile phones which had brought down the powerful regimes in Egypt and Tunisia’.
He said, "So, don't underrate the power of salt and bottles... the influential governments of Egypt and Tunisia fell because of the mobile phone."
Nazri’s ludicrous suggestions are sufficient to make us believe that the government didjam the mobile phone service on 28 April.
Why would a government resort to jamming? They do it out of fear.
The authorities were afraid that the movement for free and fair elections would take root in Malaysian minds and spread. A former IGP said that there were communist elements in the crowd. Bersih 3.0 is seen as a threat. The use of violence by the police to curb the protestors and journalists are further evidence of their fear.
Malaysians are ripe for change. They are disgusted with the corruption, the excessive spending, the waste of resources and the deliberate attempts by its leaders to alienate parts of society.
Technology will not bring about the regime change. Instead, it is technology which will make us move faster towards that goal. Technology complements the desire for reform.
It is the use of social networks, mobile phones and the internet which will encourage and facilitate connections and also mobilise people to rise up, to defend their rights.
During the various by-elections and the Sarawak election, alternative media sites suffered DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks.
Why should we believe Rais? Most of the BN ministers lie through their teeth to protect themselves and their party.
After Bersih 2.0, the Health Minister lied about tear gas being shot into the Tung Shin hospital despite photographic evidence and eye-witness accounts.
Now Rais is lying even though there were thousands of witnesses and photographs of the jamming devices.
Despite the efforts by the Egyptian authorities to jam the internet, the mobile phone service and social networking sites in Tahrir Square, Mubarak’s downfall was accelerated. The jamming backfired. The unrest picked up pace rather than fizzled out.
The Malaysian government should learn from the Egyptian jamming experience.
Jamming will force people together, even those groups whose causes are different - the Lesbian, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups, those who are fighting police brutality, women’s groups, those seeking equality in education, religious groups etc. will band together in face-to-face communications and be united in one common cause.
Citizens who were apolitical, unaware or disinterested will ultimately join in. Cyber jamming will create a more potent physical presence which will be more difficult to repress.
Facebook is a powerful tool for organising protests. Mobile phone use has grown exponentially. Footage of protests and police attacks on reporters and the public can be filmed on mobile phone cameras and then broadcast back to millions of other Malaysians by the satellite channels. Events are beamed as they unfold.
When people are plunged into silence by a government that wants them to be cocooned from knowing what is happening, or prevented from knowing about an injustice, or barred from attending an event which is contrary to the government’s interests, then is this government of your choice?
If you find disruption to the internet and phone service around the time of GE-13, you must think carefully about the party for which you will vote.

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