The government will take stern action against individuals involved in spreading fake news that could disrupt national security and racial harmony by prosecuting them in court, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin.
He said all this while the government had been "keeping quiet" as it felt that the public would not be involved in spreading false news, and yet there were those who still spreading fake contents including on Covid-19 and other slanderous statements that created uneasiness.
“This is the starting point where the government will take stern action by tracking down these individuals from continuing to spread slanders against the government,” he told a joint press conference with Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Eddin Syazlee Shith on issues of the spread of fake news and slander here today.
Mohamed Hanipa said although the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 was abolished, he believed the existing laws were sufficient to contain the symptoms of fake news.
He stressed that the government would not review the repeal of the act because the existing laws such as Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and Section 505 of the Penal Code would be able to contain the spread of fake news.
“We are committed to making changes by abolishing the Anti-Fake News Act to create a democratic country but we are saddened when others attempted to abuse the freedom granted,” he said.
Meanwhile, Eddin Syazlee said since January last year, 62 cases involving fake news have been investigated.
Of the total, eight cases have been brought to court involving nine charges under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and Section 505 of the Penal Code, he said.
To date, more than 2,000 articles have been published via the sebenarnya.my portal to counter fake news.
“The public is advised to verify any information received first,” he said.