Azalina: Fake news committee to meet academics, experts

SHAH ALAM, Feb 6 — A special committee formed to draft laws to curb fake news will seek expert opinion on the media, constitutional issues and the internet, at its second meeting tomorrow, a minister said today.

Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the different views will look into the legal perspective of the proposed law and how it would conform within existing provisions.

“Currently we have some existing laws found in the Penal Code, the Computer Crimes Act, as well as the Communications and Multimedia Act. But we do not have a solid definition on fake news and a more focused approach,” said Azalina, referring to the Computer Crimes Act 1997 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

Another law related to publications was the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, which she said was not applicable to social and online media.

“Tomorrow we will be discussing from the legal viewpoint of the draft before we bring it to the Cabinet meeting soon. Before that, we need to make sure it will cover all angles because anyone can be a victim of fake news,” she said a press conference following the launch of the Legal Aid Trust Account here today.

Earlier, Azalina said the advancement in technology has called for many existing laws to be amended.

“The world is changing, and we have to embrace the change,” she said.

The special committee was formed on January 30, following an announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that a law needs to be introduced to curb fake news as people could be instigated to hate the government or cause uprisings.