THE Malaysian Insider (TMI), a news portal known to be critical of Prime Minister Najib Razak, has announced that it will cease operations as of midnight tonight.
The shutdown comes amid a government-imposed block on its website for “national security concerns”.
TMI’s chief executive officer and editor Jahabar Sadiq said The Edge Media Group, which owns the portal, decided to shut down for commercial reasons.
“Perhaps it is fitting that we go offline at the start of the Ides of March,” Jahabar said in the portal’s page on social networking website Facebook, alluding to the March 15 date of the calendar which commemorated the death of Roman emperor Julius Caesar, apart from other religious observances.
Goodbye readers from near and far, and those reading us in Malaysia despite the government block.The Edge Media Group…
Late last month, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had moved to bar the portal after receiving complaints from the public on several articles published.
It is believed that the ban came as a result of an article about how the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had “enough evidence” to prosecute Najib over a scandal involving SRC International, a government linked firm.
The blocking had prompted the United States to call on Malaysia to respect freedom of the press and the Internet.
To circumvent that block, its staff created a mirror site – The Malaysian Outsider.
The shutdown also comes following the portal’s eigth-year anniversary since commencing operations in 2008.
The shutting down of TMI has made me think. Providing alternative news is not commercially viable, nor does it appear to…
“We worked as impartial journalists to inform Malaysians and other readers so that they make informed decisions. We worked to make all voices heard in this marketplace of ideas,” Jahabar said.
“But our work in The Malaysian Insider has now come to an end in a Malaysia that more than ever requires more clarity, transparency and information.”
At its peak, TMI was ranked as the 57th most popular website in Malaysia, according to website data and analytics provider alexa.com. The website currently placed it at 64th in the rankings.
The Malaysian Insider is gna close down by tonight 😭 there goes one of my research resources 😢
— 雅娜 (@liyanasyita) March 14, 2016
Devastated to hear that The Malaysian Insider is ceasing operations. Quality reporting and exemplary journalism. Thank you @tm_insider.
— Edward Kuruvilla (@edwardkuruvilla) March 14, 2016