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<nettime> Tripod removes activist sites post off-shore pressure
andrew garton on 20 Mar 2001 02:14:23 -0000


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<nettime> Tripod removes activist sites post off-shore pressure


Malaysiakini.com Internet news

Monday March 19


More than 11 reformasi, opposition websites ‘missing’ 


10:53am, Mon: translation More than 11 pro-reformasi and opposition party
websites have been inaccessible to Internet users since Saturday afternoon.
All the sites are hosted by Tripod.com servers. 

According to the webmaster of one of the sites, the free hosting service
may have removed several other sites which have been accused of "breaking
regulations" of the company. In its message to the webmasters of the sites,
Tripod.com said they have abused the facilities on its servers. 

This is the first time the webhosting company has issued such a notice,
another source said. Tripod.com had experienced a similar predicament
before, but it only lasted two days, after which the technical problems
were successfully overcome. 

The reformasi websites involved include Mahafiraun, Komentar, Pemantau,
Minda Rakyat, Debat 2020, NT (anti) Zalim, while the organisation websites
include those of Harakah Daily (mirror site), Detik Daily (owned by
Penerbitan Pemuda company), Pemuda Keadilan, PAS Parit Buntar, Perak and
three Tranung Kite sites (PAS Dungun, Terengganu). 

However, Laman Reformasi, better known as 'mahazalim' , is still active. 

Mahazalim has posted a notice which read: "This (situation) could be due to
a technical problem with the Tripod.com server, though I am not discounting
the possibility of a sabotage against the pro-reformasi sites." 

Mahazalim, considered the most popular reformasi website, is also hosted by
Tripod. 

According to another source, the ‘attacks’ began early Saturday morning
when three active reformasi websites - Minda Rakyat, Komentar and Tranung
Kite - could not be accessed. Internet users who tried to gain access to
the websites could only get a message saying that the sites were no longer
on Tripod.com servers. 

Elements of sabotage 

A source from Penerbitan Pemuda at midnight said that the mirror site of
that company also experienced similar problems recently. However, the
Tranung Kite mirror site at tranungdaily.tripod.com is still in operation. 

An Internet expert told malaysiakini that the actions, done in stages over
a period of more than 24 hours against Malaysian websites which leased
Tripod.com space, "give rise to concerns that there may be elements of
sabotage." 

Should Tripod.com fail to revive the websites, malaysiakini understands
that all the data which were stored in the pro-reformasi and opposition
websites would be lost unless the webmasters concerned have made backup
copies on their hard disks or at mirror sites. 

Several pro-reformasi websites had started operations since September 1998
and have archives containing tens of thousands of writings, photos,
extracts of important documents and current news. 

The webmasters fear that this latest development is linked to the latest
government effort to intensify pressure on media that are critical of Prime
Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s policies.




Monday March 19


Missing websites: no word from Tripod 
K Kabilan

8:13pm, Mon: International web host Tripod.com today continues to remain
mum on why it pulled the plug off at least 12 reformasi and opposition
party websites. These sites have been inaccessible to Internet users since
Saturday afternoon. 

The webmasters of these sites have not been officially informed of the
reasons for the block. 

An e-mail by malaysiakini to Tripod on Sunday seeking further information
has yet to be answered by the web host. Tripod, a subsidiary of Terra
Lycos, provides free web-hosting services in return for banner advertising. 

The reformasi websites involved include Mahafiraun, Komentar, Pemantau,
Minda Rakyat, Debat 2020, NT (anti) Zalim, while the political websites
include Harakah Daily (mirror site), Detik Daily (owned by Penerbitan
Pemuda company), and those of Pemuda Keadilan, PAS Parit Buntar, Perak and
three Tranung Kite sites (operated by PAS Dungun, Terengganu). 

The webmasters concerned, too, have contacted Tripod to enquire about the
termination of services, but have yet to receive any information on the
matter. 

Breach of service terms 

Since Saturday, the websites have been displaying only the notice by Tripod
that the services were terminated on the grounds of violations of the terms
of service between the webmasters and Tripod. It, however, did not give
details regarding the violations. 

In their communication with Tripod, the affected webmasters said that it
was disappointing and frustrating that their sites have been taken out
without any notice. They raised the possibility that the termination of
service could be the result of government intervention. 

“On Saturday, March 17, more than 11 websites critical of the government
were closed down. All these 11 were hosted at Tripod. It is believed that
the government will be communicating with many more website operators or
hosts in an attempt to close down all the anti-government websites,” they
wrote. 

“We write this letter to appeal to you not to buckle under the Malaysian
government’s pressure. The government will try to get you to close down our
sites with the excuse that we are using the sites for illegal purposes. The
only illegal act we have done is to speak out against corruption,
oppression, injustice, and to call for a restoration of human rights,
independence of the judiciary, and freedom of the press,” they added. 

Keadilan youth secretary Lokman Noor Adam told malaysiakini that he has
written two letters to Tripod and Terra Lycos regarding the closing down of
Keadilan Youth website and other reformasi websites. He said he has yet to
receive any response from both companies. 

Possible pressure 

In his third letter today, addressed to Terra Lycos executive chairman
Joaquim Agut and copied to the company chief technology officer Timothy
Wright, Lokman urged Tripod to restore services to these sites as soon as
possible. 

“Without them, no fewer than 250,000 ordinary Malaysians lose their main
source of reliable news and information,” he said. 

He also said that if the websites were closed due to pressure from the
Malaysian government, Terra Lycos should then inform the world the methods,
threats and insinuations which it was subjected to. 

“We urge you to contact the webmasters directly and ascertain for
yourselves the truth of any allegations made by the Malaysian ruling party
or its supporters against the reformasi websites,” said Lokman. 

He gave his assurance that Terra Lycos would have the full support of
Keadilan if the company was the target of such campaigns by the government. 

Police crackdown 

Reformasi supporters and opposition parties turned to the Internet to
disseminate news about their movement by setting up such sites since
September 1998 after realising that the traditional media were subjected to
various repressive laws. 

However, in recent weeks, at least one such site has been closed by the
government. The webmaster of the popular Free Anwar Campaign website, Raja
Petra Kamaruddin was arrested and investigated for allegedly carrying
seditious information on the site. 

The police removed computers and other equipment from Raja Petra’s home on
March 7. The website is now being updated by reformasi supporters overseas.

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