Freedom of Speech via Social Media is Significantly Beyond the Border

Written By: Nurul Atiqah

The exposure of freedom of speech in social media always gives such big impacts to the users in Malaysia. This situation has become a serious issue that has also been debated recently. The exposure to the new media has become a new epidemic among people of the globe.  Before the evolution of the new media, people tend to use media as the medium to search for information and to gain some knowledge [1]. Moreover, internet revolution in the middle of the year 2000 had led to the emergence of a lot of social networking sites that give the opportunities to public to access all the information that is needed [2]. The public try to participate in social networking in different ways such as commenting, reviewing, sharing photos, giving their opinions about any issues that happened around them and many more [3].


Image Credit: Winners Area Image Source

Most of the social media platforms have been controlled by the advancement of technological Web 2.0 because it is the technology that brings social features to websites, in order to establish the creation and exchange of user-generated materials also known as social generated contents [4]. In general, Web 2.0 is described as the second generation of World Wide Web. This enhancement gives some capabilities to the users to connect with each other compared to the first which only enabled users to information [5]. Today, the most popular Web 2.0 technologies are the Social Networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Myspace, Instagram, Linkedin and many more. These new social networks give a lot of functions that help users to communicate with each other, search for information and also share news and current issues.

Moreover, social media has such a strong relationship with freedom of speech because it supplies us with the new branch that will help us to express on certain things digitally. Moreover, social media also acts as a new complement to the traditional media that has long been in use and gives the same interaction and communication patterns similar to the branches of other human expressions; which is to disseminate information to the public stage. Nevertheless, the enhancement of Web 2.0 in social media also gives such a big impact in freedom of speech. People especially internet users tend to use social media as the medium to express their opinion or dissatisfaction. In the modern world, media is a pervasive efficient equipment to express the voice of the public or people. Whether as a mean of dissemination of general information or a branch of journalism, media together with its organs are considered a symbol of freedom of speech.


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In Malaysia, there are several cases that are related to freedom of speech. One of the articles with the title “Hak Bersuara dan Hak Aman” published by a human rights’ lawyer who is also co-founder of Lawyers for Liberty, Eric Paulsen was a good example of a violation of freedom of speech in Malaysia. In his article, he accused the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) as promoting extremism in “Khutubah Jumaat” across the country [6]. This case had been investigated by the authority. There is another case that is related to freedom of speech. On May 13, 2013, a student of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Adam Adli bin Abd. Halim, gave a speech at a rally by saying the words “incite the people of this country to change the government which had been formed in accordance with invalid laws”. [7].

Malaysians who interact in these web pages have become a great influence on the formation of a common perspective on any news or information. Most of them do not think whether the information is accurate or its only rumor. Reporters and journalists no longer hold exclusive rights to the patterns and writing reports after the Internet and various forms of social media have become vital among public especially rigid internet users. Indirectly, those who comment below-ground news have the power to affect the validity of certain issues. Sometimes, the untrue information will also become such a big influence to them. This freedom of speech phenomena has gained such a big impact in the world especially in Malaysia.


[1] D. Lewis, “What is Web 2.0?,” Magazine Crossroad, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 3-3, September 2006.

[2] P. E. Agre, “Real-Time Politics: The Internet and the Political Process,” The Information Society, vol. 18, no. 5, pp. 311-331, 2002.

[3] D. G. Lilleker and N. A. Jackson, “Towards a more participatory style of election campaigning: The impact of web 2.0 on the UK 2010 general election,” Policy Internet, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 69-98, 2012.

[4] A. M. Kaplan and M. Haenlein, “Social media: back to the roots and back to the future,” Journal of System and Information Technology, pp. 101-104, 2012.

[5] T. O’Reilly, “Web 2.0 Compact Definition: Trying Again,” 10 December 2006. [Online]. Available:

[6] M. A. Azril, “Hak bersuara dan hak hidup aman,” 29 January 2015. [Online]. Available:

[7] BERNAMA, “Penggunaan Jalur Lebat Internet Meningkat Sebanyak 218 Peratus Dalam 2014,” 2 June 2015. [Online]. Available: