Internet Censorship Monitoring during #Lawan Protest

Running Open Observatory for Network Interference (OONI) tests to measure and detect incidences of censorship during #Lawan Protest

Sinar Project, 30 August 2021

Key Findings: 

Sinar Project found no signs of blocking or network interference of:

  • Websites for civil society and media
  • Organiser’s website
  • Instant messaging applications such as Facebook and Whatsapp and social media services



Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (SSR) organised #Lawan protest on 31 July 2021 at Dataran Merdeka

As part of our efforts to increase the transparency of Internet censorship, Sinar Project monitored Internet censorship during this event by collecting evidence of network interference and internet censorship using OONI Probe and OONI Run.

The focus was on collecting evidence of internet censorship on instant messaging apps and targeted websites that are potentially at risk of censorship, particularly news and media sites, and civil rights organizations.


Sinar Project identified several selected civil society, news and media, and government and political party sites (see Appendix A) that would be monitored and tested for possible censorship or interference using Open Observatory for Network Interference (OONI) network tests run through OONI Probe mobile applications. 

OONI Probe mobile applications together with OONI Run test URLs provided a way for the Malaysian public to help run tests and collect data on specific set of URLs through a link published on social media networks. The mobile application can also test and collect data on network interference of instant messaging services such as Whatsapp and Telegram. Special events such protests can be unpredictable, and this method allowed us to quickly publish new URLs for the public to help run tests to confirm and collect evidence of possible network interference. Guides on how to run the tests are also published on Sinar’s website.


In lead up to and on the day of the protest, no incident of censorship or network interference was detected through daily tests run by OONI Probe application on multiple networks of Internet Service Providers (ISP).

page 1 OONi Probe.jpg page 2 OOni Probe.jpg

lawan green.png 

Conclusion and Recommendations

Sites for civil societies, news, and media, as well as governments and political parties were not found to be blocked or censored leading up to and on the day of protest. 

OONI Probe Mobile app and OON Run links can be used to collect measurements for a list of specific URLs with the assistance of the public on a variety of networks for specific events during a fluid and changing situation such as elections.

Given the arrests, investigations, and charges on protest participants and organisers, civil society observers, and past history of Internet censorship, it is recommended that these tests, as well as more comprehensive OONI tests for Malaysia, should continue to be run, to monitor and capture technical evidence for the state of online censorship and network interference in Malaysia.

Past History of Internet Censorship in Malaysia:

GE14 Internet censorship

Laws cited for Internet Censorship in Malaysia

GE13 Censorship on Online Media

Website proselytizing Christianity blocked by Malaysian Government

Online LGBT Censorship Malaysia

List of Websites Censored by MCMC - 2018-07-24

Appendix A

Websites selected for testing 

Civil Society

News / Media

Government & Political Parties


Test data for confirmed anomalies for other websites tested during this period can be found on OONI Explorer website, as well as test data where anomalies were not detected.