Communications and Multimedia minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said on his blog that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will be tasked to monitor social media. This is to ensure that social media users and bloggers act responsibly, as they have been behaving “quite recklessly” lately with regards to their postings on the internet.
He added that this behaviour probably escalated in recent times due to the upcoming general elections.
“If [social media users and bloggers] cannot act responsibly, then the government will need to step in and restore order to the internet,” he said. He advised bloggers and social media users to be sensible and responsible enough to practice self-censorship, in spite of existing laws that control the abuse of social media. This include the publishing of fake news, as well as seditious and libellous postings.
The minister also urged users to not allow the issue to escalate to a state where action has to be taken against the abusers of the internet and social media. “After all, if you are educated enough to use the social media, then you should be educated enough to differentiate between right and wrong,” he said.
The government has been taking a tough stance on the abuse of the internet and social media. MCMC recently ordered news portal Malaysia Today to remove three articles concerning Malaysian Chinese business magnate and investor Tan Sri Robert Kuok, which were found to have violated Section 233 of the Multimedia and Communication Act 1998.
Last month, it also informed two online news portals to remove a total of eight articles which allegedly broke the law, and investigated 76 cases of fake news and information dissemination in 2018. In January this year, Barisan Nasional rolled out a new portal called “theRakyat” in its effort to battle fake news on social media.