Focus View
Is another law against fake news necessary?
FocusM team | 09 Mar 2018 00:30
A new set of laws is being formulated to curb the spread of fake news on social media, online and practically in any medium.

Few can argue persuasively in defence of fake news. The truth is, fake news can cause much pain and hurt to those who are the objects of slander and malicious lies fabricated by purveyors of untruth. Something drastic and urgent needs to be done to contain the spread of insidious fake news. However, the real question and the subject of much debate now is: What exactly needs to be done?

The government seems to be in favour of more punitive measures to be taken via a new set of laws, but is this the real solution?

Any civil society must be governed by truth and honesty, as well as adhere to basic protection of civil liberties. Hence, why is there a need to enact the Fake News Act, which will clearly impinge further on the civil liberties of ordinary Malaysians with regard to the freedom of expression?

There are already existing laws such as Article 8A of the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984, as well as Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which stipulates anyone who initiatives or transmits obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive material have committed an offence.

Perhaps the authorities need to rethink the proposed legislation as fake news is a global phenomenon without borders. In trying to eradicate fake news in the country, let us not remove our basic freedom of expression.

Gossiping and small talk about politics at coffee shops, barber shops or even in taxis are part and parcel of our culture and heritage. This is perhaps what makes Malaysia a beautiful and interesting country to live in. Let’s keep it that way. Our existing laws are sufficient for the time being, so no more new law, please!

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