Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter offer ‘positive response’ to fake news Bill

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 ― Representatives from tech giant Google and other social media platform providers like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have been consulted for their input on the government’s plan to enact a new law against fake news.

Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said who met them as well as representatives from the Asia Internet Coalition at Parliament said today the meeting was to ensure the government covered all bases before introducing the new law.

“We have had positive response during our discussion with the social media platform providers. This meeting is important to ensure that the bill will be comprehensive and can cover all aspects. This is also a reflection that the government has an inclusive attitude,” Azalina said in a statement.

The meeting was held in Parliament yesterday and included the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

Azalina also said that a workshop on fake news was organised by a Special Committee at the Asian International Arbitration Centre (Malaysia) for relevant government agencies.

Azalina then voiced her confidence that the upcoming law will be able to curb the spread of fake news.

During the opening address of the current Parliamentary session, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V, voiced his support for the Fake News Bill saying that a law to regulate it is “timely”.

“Presently, social media has a significant influence in shaping the values and culture of the society. All parties should play their role in safeguarding good character and moral values within the society.

“Hence, we fully support the proposal to formulate laws to address the spread of fake news and slander in social media,” he said in his speech.

Last week, Azalina expressed confidence that the final draft for the law will be ready in roughly a week’s time.

A special committee to draft laws to curb fake news was formed on January 30, following an announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that new legislation was needed to curb the menace which threatens multiracial and multireligious Malaysia’s harmony.

The committee includes representatives from the police, Attorney-General’s Chambers, National Security Council, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, the Legal Affairs Division, MCMC, and also non-governmental organisations and MPs.