Communications Ministry probes 42 cases of fake news on Covid-19 and MCO

Soldiers and police officers conducting checks at a roadblock on day five of the movement control order (MCO) in Sri Hartamas March 22,2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Soldiers and police officers conducting checks at a roadblock on day five of the movement control order (MCO) in Sri Hartamas March 22,2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) is investigating 42 cases of fake news which could cause public confusion during the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO).  

Its Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, said of this number, 13 investigation papers had been opened and six of them had received instruction to proceed with prosecution under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code.

The ministry, through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in cooperation with the police, was taking stern action to check the dissemination of fake news, he wrote in his official Twitter account today.

He listed out examples of fake news, including:

A claim that the Ministry of Defence will seek the help of veterans to enforce the MCO.

A voice message claiming military personnel are authorised to hit people.

Faking a press release from the National Security Council.

A claim of a Covid-19 prevention guide by Japanese doctors.

A claim that Sungai Buloh Hospital is seeking donation of personal protective equipment for fighting Covid-19.

A claim that the Ministry of Health (MOH) is requesting for donations.

A claim that a specialist doctor from a hospital in Perak died of Covid-19.

A claim that police issued summonses during roadblocks in front of TTDI police station.

A claim that Kuala Lumpur Hospital is seeking donation of money and equipment.

A claim that a Covid-19 positive patient escaped from Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital.

Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks to reporters during a press conference at the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia in Putrajaya March 12, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks to reporters during a press conference at the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia in Putrajaya March 12, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Saifuddin said anyone who deliberately caused public fear or anxiety could be jailed up to two years or fined, or both, if convicted under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code.

He also said those who disseminated contents that are obscene, false or threatening to others could be slapped with a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment up to one year or both under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia 1998 Act.

“Keep using social media platforms in the right manner; pray for #MalaysiaFreeCovid19!” he tweeted. — Bernama

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