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Anti-Fake News Bill prepares nation for post-truth era

The Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 which was passed by the Dewan Rakyat yesterday will prepare the country to face the post-truth era where news is spread regardless of whether it is true or not.

National Communication Team in the Prime Minister’s Department head, Abdul Rahman Sulaiman, said the bill would enable concrete and effective steps to be taken to combat fake news and stop the country from being destroyed.

“We have seen examples of the effects of fake or partially-fake news in other countries, including Donald Trump’s successful bid to become the American president in the last presidential election, and the issue of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU).

“Trump’s victory was not because he was great but due to the spread of false news that America suffered under the previous administration. Similarly, the news about Britain’s losses under the EU, but they now seem to have regretted leaving the union,” he told Bernama today.

He said in the post-truth era with the advances in information technology facilities, irresponsible persons could create untrue or partially-true news which the readers believed as the truth.

For instance, Rahman said, the 1MDB issue was twisted and connected to the national debt and the goods and services tax (GST).

“Irresponsible parties have said that the 1MDB is the problem, causing the national debt to rise and the government had to introduce the GST to pay off the debt. In the end, the people are confused, or worse, they believe the news,” said the Council of Former Elected Representatives deputy president.

The Dewan Rakyat passed the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 which is aimed at curbing the spread of false news and setting up preventive measures.

Meanwhile, following Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s statement yesterday that the increase in the price of goods was not because of the GST but due to "middlemen" who manipulated the prices to obtain higher profits, Rahman said consumer associations should do their part to help consumers.

- Bernama

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