Govt mulls authorising MCMC to remove fake news, racist posts from social media

07 Mar 2019 / 21:22 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The government is looking into the possibility to authorise the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to remove fake news and racist posts from social media, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said.

He said it was among the measures discussed in line with the government’s intention to enact legislation addressing the abuse of social media, which has been rampant of late.

The minister said the matter was still being discussed with the relevant parties and the new legislation was expected to be tabled at Parliament by July at the latest.

“The government is still studying the possibility and making amendments to the existing law so that it will be more effective in addressing issues of racism, religious hate crime and offensive messages on the monarchy institution. These are among the aspects we are looking into now.

“We are looking at how we can give the MCMC the power. I hope the new legislation can be tabled at the next Parliament session (which to begin on Monday) or the following session (in July),“ he told reporters after attending the closing of the Malaysian chapter of Safer Internet Day 2019 celebration here today.

To a question whether the National Cyber Security Policy had something to do with the formulation of the new legislation, Gobind said: “The policy is different as it encompasses the country’s next moves and direction in addressing new challenges in the era of digital economy.”

“Whereas the legislation encompasses issues of social media abuse just like the existing provisions under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and other relevant laws, but the policy implementation is wider,“ he said, adding that the policy is expected to be completed in July.

Earlier in his closing speech, Gobind said a digital citizenship concept would be introduced to promote good behaviour and accountability in the use of digital technology.

He said this was very important as extreme internet usage could cause Internet users to become addicted to the extent of threatening their physical and mental health, as well as being vulnerable to cyber threats such as online fraud, cyber harassment, identity theft, cyberbullying and spam, which could lead to financial loss and damage.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) Programme for International Student Assessment survey revealed that extreme internet usage (more than six hours a day) gave a low level of satisfaction and well-being to users compared to a modest internet usage (one to two hours a day).

“Realising the existence of this problem, the government is planning to create a system based on the digital citizenship concept with the support of CyberSecurity Malaysia,“ he said.

The digital citizenship concept has nine main elements namely digital access; digital business; digital communications; digital literacy; digital etiquette; digital law; digital rights and responsibilities; digital health; and digital security.

On the Malaysian chapter of the Safer Internet Day celebration, Gobind said the ministry had been taking various measures and initiatives to tackle the issues of cybercrime while promoting the use of the Internet with integrity and in the most positive, ethical and civilised manner.

Also present were CyberSecurity Malaysia board of directors chairman Tan Sri Mohd Azumi Mohamed, Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) CEO Nurini Kassim and editor-in-chief Datuk Zakaria Abdul Wahab. — Bernama

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