KOTA KINABALU: The mainstream media should be exempted from the proposed anti-fake news law, says the Sabah Journalists Association (SJA).
Its president Muguntan Vanar said the spirit of the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 was aimed mainly at those intentionally creating and spreading fake news on social media.
“But it (the proposed law) would have implications on the mainstream media that could be stifling.
”The issue of fake news is mainly a problem confined strictly to social media and any legislation should be directed at such medium rather than to include print media.
“The mainstream media is already subjected to various rules, guidelines and laws including the Printing Presses and Publications Act, Official Secrets Act and Sedition laws,” he said, in a statement issued by SJA.
Vanar said the Communications and Multimedia Act could also check on the problem of fake news.
He said a democracy was built on a market of ideas and as such, a discourse, be it speculation, conjecture, comment or opinion, should be allowed in the name of a thriving democracy.
”A town, city, even country is only as good as the papers published there. If Malaysia wants to stay relevant in the wider world, it should not hinder a thriving market of ideas, at least in the mainstream media,” Vanar said.
By doing this, he said, it would also bring credibility back to both the media industry and government.