Fake News Can Jeopardise National Security, Religious Affiliations

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SALLEH SAID

JOHOR BAHRU: Measures to tackle the spread of fake news were very timely as the spread of fake news could jeopardise national security, religious affiliations and racial unity among the people.

Dr Salleh Said Keruak, the minister of Communications and Multimedia said the government’s move to study new laws to curb fake news is not due to the 14th General Election but has long been considered.

“Not at all, there is no connection at all (with GE14). Even since before, we (government) had considered this matter (move to review laws to curb fake news),” the national news agency Bernama quoted him as saying.

“Of course we have several current laws such as the Communications and Multimedia Act, Sedition Act, but when it comes to fake news, it can affect national security, hence it is crucial for us to have related specific laws.”

Salleh was speaking to reporters after visiting the Festival GegaRia 2018 at Angsana Johor Bahru Mall, here Saturday.

Salleh said, as was publicly known, fake news being viral is widespread throughout the world and many countries had taken the necessary step in addressing the matter.

He said the lack of control over the spread of fake news would certainly hurt the country and people as every individual should use social media positively such as to enhance social network or economic income.

The government has decided to set up a special committee to study new laws to curb fake news, which is chaired by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

We in Malaysia also have many victims of fake news, as such, the government wants to create a special act that can be tabled in Parliament at the next sitting,” he said.

Salleh said the proposed law is expected to be presented by Azalina at the next Cabinet meeting to be scrutinised.

Based on record, the Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) received 1,203 complaints relating to fake news and fake contents last year while over 1,800 web sites, portals and blogs were blocked during the same period for distributing contents that were confusing and could lead to instability among the multi racial communities.

The sebenarnya.my portal being developed by MCMC as a reference centre to determine the authenticity of news being viral recorded 15 million hits since it was launched in March last year.