MCMC may be empowered to remove fake news, racist posts from social media

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo says abuse of social media has been rampant of late.

PUTRAJAYA: 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.

Gobind said this was among the measures discussed in line with the government’s intention to enact legislation to address the abuse of social media, which has been rampant of late.

He said the matter was being discussed with relevant parties and the proposed legislation was expected to be tabled in Parliament by July.

“The government is looking into amending the existing law so that it will be more effective in addressing issues of racism, religious hate crime and offensive messages on the monarchy. These are among the aspects we are looking into.

“We are looking at how we can give MCMC the power. I hope the new legislation can be tabled at the next Parliament session (which begins on Monday) or the following session (in July),” he told reporters after attending the closing of the Safer Internet Day 2019 celebration here today.

Asked if the proposed new legislation was linked to the National Cyber Security Policy, expected to be completed in July, Gobind said: “The policy is different as it encompasses the country’s next moves and direction in addressing new challenges in the era of the digital economy.

“The legislation, on the other hand, 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.”

Earlier, in his 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 important as extreme internet usage could cause users to become addicted to the extent of threatening their physical and mental health.

They could also be vulnerable to cyber threats such as online fraud, cyber harassment, identity theft, cyberbullying and spam, which could lead to financial loss and damage.