Our week kicked off with the announcement of a specific legislation that aims to safeguard Malaysians from the epidemic that is Fake News.
Many NGO’s and organizations are quick to slamdunk the effort by over amplifying it a political point. Whatever it is the Malaysian cyber environment needs it now more than ever.
The record (or off-record) of fake news influencing country’s sovereignty and security all around the globe is alarming. Malaysia need to rethink our engagement in social media and make producers, distributors and spreaders of the news accountable for their actions. This is to prevent the same thing from happening to us.
Mainly what worries Malaysians is, we are afraid that the media watchdogs is going to knock on our door if we accidently spread or somewhat involved in the spread of false information. Or could it be, we can now no longer be the all-knowing person on group chats when it comes to forwarding educative messages from ‘group sebelah’?
What we fail to understand, social media giants are not our friend. They are not innocent either. Foreign powerhouses have been lobbying them to enable them in infiltrating countries, Malaysia included.
So, by having this law, the social media giants will be more responsible in what they let circulate in our media. This prevents foreign intervention.
In crafting the fake news law, policy makers must define the workable definition of fake news. In fact, the government legislation has quickly addressed this.
The committee drafting the law comprises Representatives from the police, Attorney-General’s Chambers, National Security Council, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, and the Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU) attended the first meeting held last week.
Currently, there are several Acts in existence, such as Section 8A of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984. The Government would also look into existing provisions that can be used to curb and address these new forms of threats that can be published, broadcast or spread via online media platforms.
The emergence of the law will underline the ability of Malaysia to seriously engage with a problem as poison as fake news. As such, this will ensure the root causes fueling fake news phenomenon can be prevented in Malaysia. The government is right to address it.