KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will continue its crack down on purveyors of fake news.
It said the six people nabbed for spreading fake news on Friday, was not the first such case it has received but said approach it had taken showed they meant business.
“This is not the first time we have encountered similar issue. In this case we are going strong on this matter,” MCMC’s Network Security and Enforcement Sector chief Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin told the New Straits Times.
On Friday, MCMC had picked up six individuals and brought in to investigate on the allegedly dissemination false news about halal and non-halal frozen meat which stated to have found stored together in 74 containers at Tanjung Pelepas Port (PTP) in Johor.
The arrest was made after MCMC received several complaint filed against the posting. After their statements were recorded they were released on the same day.
The six suspects, aged between 20 years old and 40 was taken under the Section of 233 (1)(a) of the MCMC Act 1998 for improper use of network facilities.
On July this year, the Department of Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services had confiscated four 30-tonne containers of halal and non-halal frozen meat which was found at PTP.
The checks had revealed only one container containing frozen lamb meat had a foreign halal logo stamped on. While, the rest of the containers had other meats which includes 160 packs of pork legs and 116 packs of internal organs of animals placed in the same container.
Another eight remaining individuals alleged to have circulated false news on halal and non-halal frozen meat were yet to be hauled up for questioning.
Zulkarnain said investigations are ongoing and was unsure when the remaining eight will be picked up to tell their side of the story on the matter.
He said once MCMC completes its investigation, the papers will be submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for further action.
“Only the Attorney-General has the decision whether to charge or not,” he said.
In his opinion, Zulkarnain feels such individuals should be charged as fake news had created unnecessary panic among members of the public.
He adds sometimes such sort of dissemination of fake news ‘could’ also be from a business rival and such act’s could cause harm to many businesses.
“Public or media users must understand when an individual posted or shared news on their personal Facebook page, social media users should verify the accuracy of the information,” he said.
He adds that the MCMC will take a dual approach in tackling the matter. It will see the MCM tackle the matter by inculcating positive usage of the social media platform, while at the same time not sparring the rod of those found have breached the law.
He said the soft approach taken includes promoting the use of the internet through ‘Klik dengan bijak’ campaign, and as well as the acculturation of fact checking via the ‘sebenarnya.my, portal.
“Serious enforcement is part of the efforts of the agency to ensure laws and ethics are adhered to when people communicate online or social media,” he said.