London-based whistleblower website ‘Sarawak Report’ defied Malaysia’s censors Monday by offering an alternative, unblocked web address where readers in Malaysia could access all content this week.
The alternative url was shared on Twitter Monday afternoon Malaysian time, defying Malaysian censors attempts to block the website there.
It also advised readers in Malaysia having difficulty accessing the site on how to use TOR or a DNS address change to circumvent the block:
You can continue to access Sarawak Report by downloading TOR (http://t.co/VTzOVbyFcZ) or by changing your DNS.
— Sarawak Report (@sarawak_report) July 19, 2015
Reports Tuesday said the original site was still accessible on smartphones and through certain ISPs.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the country’s internet regulator, confirmed late Sunday that the site had been blocked.
“Such content could create unrest and threatens national stability, public order and economic stability,” the commission said in a statement.
The move came two weeks after the site reported that US$700 million had been transferred from state investment company 1MDB to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s account.
The MCMC said the website would remain blocked until the 1MDB investigation is complete.
‘Sarawak Report’ in a statement posted on Facebook described the MCMC’s actions as “a blatant attempt to censor our exposures of major corruption”.
It added: “This latest blow to media freedom only brings further discredit upon the present administration, who have proven unable to counter the evidence we have presented in any other way.”
‘Sarawak Report’, which was founded by Malaysian-born Clare Rewcastle Brown, a sister-in-law to former British PM Gordon Brown, this week published an article alleging harassment of its staff in London by unknown men.
“Sarawak Report concludes that the purpose of this operation is plainly to intimidate the newsblog, which has recently revealed information about missing billions from the development fund 1MDB,” it reported.
The whistleblower website, which was founded in 2010, is best known for its reporting on the deforestation of Malaysian Borneo, and particularly the actions of Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.