Special committee members on fake news widened

KUALA LUMPUR: Membership of the Special Committee on the Issue on the Dissemination of Fake News will be widened to include elected representatives from the Barisan Nasional and the opposition to enable various opinions on the matter to be taken into account.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman said the committee, which was set up in January, was originally made up of representatives of the relevant ministries and government agencies only but would now be participated by members of the academia and institutions of higher learning as well as several non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

"This is to ensure that the government initiative receives all the relevant opinions,"she said when winding up the motion of thanks for the Royal Address for her ministry at the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.

Azalina said the briefing session on the Bill on Anti-Fake News 2018 would also be held for BN members of Parliament as well as the opposition MPs next week.

Meanwhile, she said the government had carried out discussions with representatives of social media platform providers namely Asia Internet Coalition (IAC), Google, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter to get more views and inputs on the Bill.

Azalina said the discussion session had received positive reaction from representatives of social media platform providers and indirectly proved that the government had always adopted an inclusive attitude in drawing up a new policy or law.

Meanwhile, the minister said the Bill was being formulated to protect the people from becoming victims of fake news, and it did not stop the freedom of expression as provided for in the Federal Constitution.

"The Bill also gives a clear message that the government will not compromise on any matter that can jeopardise public peace and national security,"she said.

Thus, she said, the government hoped that everyone could accept the Bill positively and not to turn it into a polemic.

The Bill aimed to provide several offences regarding the dissemination of fake news and measures to prevent the problem had been tabled and passed by the Cabinet yesterday.

The first reading of the Bill is expected to be made at the Dewan Rakyat next week. ā€” Bernama