Existing laws enough to combat sharing of fake news, says Gobind

Communication and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo talking to a stall owner at the Lorong Kulit hawker centre in Penang January 30, 2020. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE
Communication and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo talking to a stall owner at the Lorong Kulit hawker centre in Penang January 30, 2020. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 30 — Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said the police can use existing laws to take action against those who spread fake news that can threaten public order and national security in light of the recent rise in fake viral messages regarding the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The minister said the Anti-Fake News Act was already abolished as there are existing laws that the police can use to take action against those who spread fake news.

“As for whether there are laws to combat the spread of fake news, this issue does not arise at all and the police are in the process of taking actions using existing laws,” he said during a press conference after visiting an Information Department booth disseminating information on 2019-nCoV at the flea market in Lorong Kulit here.

He appealed to the public to stop spreading unverified news they saw on social media while warning them on legal consequences if they shared the news that is proven to be false.

“The public should only look at official sources and the Health Ministry is having regular daily press conferences on this issue, sometimes more than once a day,” he said.

He said there is a constant flow of information regarding the virus through various channels including official channels such as Bernama and RTM along with all local media.

“We also have a portal, sebenarnya.my, the public can go to this website to verify the news they received through messages and social media,” he said.

He said the police will investigate all reports lodged against those who spread fake news.

He said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is constantly issuing notices and releasing verified information for the public.

He said since January 25, Bernama has published 149 articles, released 42 news reports on television, 30 infographics and six videos on 2019-nCoV.

Over in RTM, he said there were a total news and talk shows, 10 infographics and 42 videos on the virus.

“Now we have info on wheels that will be going around public places in all states to explain about coronavirus,” he said.

He said a total of 180 programmes will be held nationwide daily with a minimum of four programmes in each state daily.

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