All media in Malaysia subject to Act 588, says Jailani Johari

KUALA BERANG: All media and online portals in Malaysia must be aware that their operations are subject to the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (Act 588).

Communications and Multimedia Deputy Minister Jailani Johari said the Act had long been introduced to control the reporting of news that was slanderous in nature, particularly those disseminated by online portals.

The Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (Act 588) has two main provisions which enable enforcement action to be taken on complaints related to offensive content on the Internet under Section 211, (ban on the uploading of offensive content) and Section 233 (on inappropriate use of the facility and network services).

Under Section 211, anyone who is guilty of flouting Subsection (1) can be fined not more than RM50,000 or jailed not exceeding two years, or both. They can also be fined a further RM1,000 daily or part of a day, if the offence is perpetuated after being found guilty.

He said this to reporters after the annual general meeting of the Terengganu branch of the Federation of Peninsular Malay Students (GPMS), here, today.

Jailani, who is also Hulu Terengganu Member of Parliament, was commenting on the issue raised by GPMS deputy president Ezaruddin Abd Rahman on Sept 2 that the government should introduce an act to control slanderous media reports, especially those disseminated by news portals or social media.

Whatever offences committed online are offences in the real world. So, online media practitioners or netizens must be more responsible in managing the content uploaded on their portals. Differentiate content which criticise, insult, instigate, sow hatred or are slanderous and false in nature to avoid action being taken later, he said.

Meanwhile, from 2016 to Feb 1 this year, 167 cases of Internet and social media abuses were investigated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), including the dissemination of false content and information via WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. In the same period, 1,375 websites were also blocked because of their false content.

Source: Malaysian Trades Union Congress