KUALA LUMPUR: Media ownership by political parties should be avoided in order to combat misinformation and, in a way, create a better climate for the press, said the Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Gobind Singh Deo.
He stated, however, that the decision to prohibit this must be decided by the government.
He spoke at the opening of the Think Media Malaysia 2018 with Google & # 39 ;, which was also attended by Sajith Sivanandan, managing director – Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and New Emerging Markets at Google.
Gobind Singh said that the ministry was always open to making contact with relevant stakeholders to find the best way for this country and its people.
"We are pleased to support all parties and work together to ensure a more favorable environment for media experts.
"As a government that respects the freedom of information and expression, we expect not only high standards from all established stakeholders, but also that it comes with a heavy responsibility to spread credible news and information," he added.
Gobind Singh said his ministry was in the process of proposing amendments to a number of provisions relating to the false news used by the previous BN government.
"For example, under Article 233, it is a crime to distribute material that is considered offensive, but what is" offensive "and to which parties is it debatable and unclear?" .
As for the Anti-Fake News Act, which was withdrawn in parliament last week, Gobind Singh said that the law was hastily adopted at the beginning of April a few weeks before the 14th general elections on 9 May.
"The timing and rush of adopting the law (Anti-Fake News Act) was very suspicious and led to speculation that it was a tool meant to be used against the Pakatan Harapan, as the latter tried to get support in a fierce … controversial election and one that could lead to a change of government.
"This is of course the case now," he said.
Gobind Singh also mentioned the example of how the 1MDB issue, which he described as the world's largest financial scandal, was something that was repeatedly brought down by the then government.
"Lawsuits were also directed against parliamentarians because they expressed themselves," he said and added that websites and Facebook pages were set up to propagate pro-BN propaganda and encourage hatred and malice against the opposition.
He drove to the point that everyone can not deny that the existence and spread of false news and information are very real and that it needs to be addressed.
"What" fake news "is, must be viewed with specific references and context," he said.
Gobind Singh said that the government therefore wanted a comprehensive dialogue and involvement with all stakeholders to combat the false news problem more effectively. – Bernama