Written by: Nur Fatin binti Abdullah
In this 21st century, media has bought us both opportunities and challenges in our global boundary less world. With this advance of technologies, things can be misinterpreted and it can be simply manipulated irresponsible people in the virtual world. Not everything that we seen in today’s media can be simply trust. Therefore, by simply reading the title or hearing from mouth to mouth without doing your own research or get any validation from trusted is an inappropriate action as the dissemination of this kind of information without us knowingly hurts an unwanted party. The act is just like slander and it is common to know that the impact of this defamation is too big as it is can give a negative impact on the society at the time because nowadays technology that is just at the tip of the finger.
According to research, the internet users in 2017, 76.9% Malaysian citizens are internet users and 89.4% is from the amount has internet access from their mobile phone.
Recently, TM Malaysia has launched a new campaign warning consumers against fake news concentrating for the mainly on digital and out-of-home (OOH) advertising platform. It features the slogans “Sharing fake news is akin to telling lies” (Kongsi berita palsu umpama menipu) and “Prevent defamation on the internet” (Cegah fitnah internet). The campaign also feature #Fitnet .
The campaign was launched during the same time as the anti fake news bill and it was coincidence. TM at that time aims to raise awareness about fact-checking website and combat fake news. Under the Anti-Fake News Bill, those convicted of disseminating false content would be jailed or fined up to RM500,000 or both.
The previous government said that bill expects to “safeguard the public” against the spread of phony news, while keeping up the privilege to the right to speak freely and articulation under the Federal Constitution. Blogs, public forums and social media accounts are also covered by the bill.
The Controversial Fake News Law: New Government Ruling
The move has been described as attempt to silence the opposition which now is the new government. After the 14th general election, it is intense situation where there is rumors say it will be abolished or it will be redefine. After the poll, the new ruling government plead that they will make the law clear to media and public the define meaning of fake law. Initially, it was brought up by former government with guidelines to restrict the spreading of fake news not to restrict the freedom of speech as claim by law minister on that period.
The offended of fake news by means whoever those maliciously spreading fake news whenever they are will be penalized if Malaysia or Malaysian citizen were affected. In the Southeast Asia, including Singapore and Philippines, the major concern is how to tackle the “fake news” but what human right activist afraid of the enforcement of fake news law will restrain the free speech rights.