KUALA LUMPUR: The communications and multimedia ministry is in the final stages of submitting a proposal to the attorney-general’s chambers (AGC) to consider registering online portals with high traffic.
Its minister Salleh Said Keruak said the ministry was now studying the criteria needed for a portal to be registered.
“There are different portals, not just political portals. We are looking at the criteria.
“We are not restricting any party from reporting or writing.
“There are blogs run by Lim Kit Siang, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and there are DAP and PAS websites.
“We have not blocked these sites. They give views and criticise the government.
“It is not wrong to criticise under the law. But it should not be fake news or slander,” he told reporters after officiating an event here today.
He said the proposal for registration was to ensure that online portals are governed by the same rules presently applied to print media.
“Their reporting should not disrupt the safety of the country or create racial disunity and play up religious sentiments.”
Salleh said it was most likely that portals with high traffic will be required to register with the ministry.
“This is just like in Singapore. To make it orderly, they ask portals with a high volume of traffic to register,” he said, stressing that the proposal did not call for small players to register.
The minister pointed out that the move was not to curb those from online media from reporting the news.
“It is not a complicated procedure. It is a simple process to register online portals.
“Once the proposal is approved by the AGC, we will discuss it with the stakeholders and portals to get their ideas and explain to them the reasons for registering them with the ministry.”
He said once registered, online media could help curb the spread of slander and fake news.
Salleh said his ministry would work with the home ministry to monitor the sites and if any online portals were found to have flouted the rules, action could be taken under the MCMC Act or the Sedition Act.
He said the proposal was being examined at the cabinet level with the setting up of a task force chaired by himself, the inspector-general of police, the attorney-general and minister Azalina Othman Said.
The task force was set-up last year to look into the misuse of social media sites, he added.
Salleh also revealed his ministry had so far deleted 2,000 fake accounts and was continuing to work closely with social media giants like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.