Malaysia has ordered local ISPs to block an entire online publishing platform over an article it says contains "false content".
The report concerns the attorney-general's decision to clear Prime Minister Najib Razak (pictured) of allegations that he illegally accepted millions of dollars from the Saudi royals.
"The post stays up"
The popular web platform Medium has refused a request by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to remove the article, posted by London-based investigative news site Sarawak Report, The Star reports.
The MCMC says the article contains false content that could affect social stability and undermine the prime minister and government.
Medium says it has seen no evidence that the post violates its rules, or the law. "We stand by investigative journalists who publish on Medium. Until we receive an order from a court of competent jurisdiction, the post stays up," the platform says.
"Huge leap from past"
"The blocking of Medium in its entirety is a huge leap from the censorship of the past. Even China, notorious for its tight control over what its citizens see, does not block the site," says Malaysia Chronicle website.
The action against Medium "directly impacts the ability of thousands of bloggers to use it, damaging an already weak freedom of the press in Malaysia", says the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI).
Sarawak Report says Malaysians are "once again the losers": "Their access to independent information, as opposed to Najib's propaganda, has been further restricted."
The government blocked Sarawak Report last July. The website then began posting some of its stories via Medium - a popular platform set up by a co-founder of Twitter.