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

The government is looking into the possibility of authorising 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 this 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 yesterday.

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.

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