Minister: Fake news committee to get everyone’s views

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak speaks during the launch of the National Aspiration Leadership Summit 2018 in Kuala Lumpur February 4, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak speaks during the launch of the National Aspiration Leadership Summit 2018 in Kuala Lumpur February 4, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — The government committee formed to legislate against fake news will consider as many opinions as possible before finalising anything, a minister said today, amid concerns from Opposition politicians and civil society.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak said the committee, headed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, will submit an early draft of its discussions to the Cabinet as soon as possible.

“The question of fake news is not just worrying for the ruling coalition, but for the Opposition parties. Hence the need to consider everyone’s viewpoints on how to overcome it,” Salleh said during the National Aspiration and Leadership Summit at the Putra World Trade Centre.

He said he was confident that should any laws be tabled in Parliament to address fake news, it would not become a tool to suppress freedom of thought or speech.

“We have to respect the right of others to criticise the government, or hold different political opinions from us while expressing it online.

“Rather what we seek to target is the sort of news and disinformation which could threaten religious and racial harmony in the country,” he said.

On January 30, Azalina announced the committee and said she hoped it would be able to introduce a new law in time for the upcoming Parliament meeting on March 5. 

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