LAST_UPDATEWed, 21 Mar 2018 8am

Dissemination Of False News A Global Problem - Salleh

Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said KeruakDatuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak

KUALA LUMPUR -- The issue of the dissemination of false news is a problem faced globally following the rapidly growing communication technology revolution.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said the phenomenon would continue and be a major challenge in the effort to regulate and enforce laws relating to the dissemination of information.

"Analogically, as long as the world has Internet, this issue will continue and it will give a greater challenge in the future and all parties need to work together to deal with it," Salleh said in a written reply to a question from Senator Datuk Seri Khairudin Samad in the Dewan Negara today.

Khairudin had wanted to know on how the ministry monitored and prevented the spread of false news on social media by irresponsible parties which would cause confusion to the public.

Salleh said the ministry through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in collaboration with various relevant government agencies used multi-approaches to tackle the dissemination of false content and news on social media platforms, websites and the Internet.

"The people need to realise that with the challenges of technological advancement including Cloud Computing and Encryption Technology, enforcement action is not the only solution to address the issue.

"What's more important is education and early awareness to consumers in ensuring that digital platforms are used prudently and wisely," he said.

In this regard, Salleh said that the emphasis should be on the greater self-control aspect so that all parties would be aware of their responsibilities and roles in using the Internet and social media.

Section 3 (3) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (Act 588) guarantees no Internet filtering by the government, however, it does not mean that any party is free to commit any offence without taking into account the restrictions of the law, he said.

"The existing provisions such as the Defamation Act 1957, Sedition Act 1948, Penal Code, Act 588, may be used for the purpose of enforcing laws relating to the dissemination of false news, inculcating hatred and defamation.

"MCMC specifically monitored the development and misuse of the Internet and will take action under the provisions of Section 233 of Act 588, which prohibits the spread of indecent, obscene, false, threatening or offensive content," he said.

Any person charged and convicted under the law is liable to a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment of up to a year or both, upon conviction.