6 March 2018
Press statement by Wanita MCA Chairman Datuk Heng Seai Kie
Wanita MCA fully supports fake news Bill - MCMC instruction to Raja Petra to remove articles commendable
The move by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission instructing Raja Petra to remove 3 articles from his blog by 10a.m., Tuesday, 6 March 2018, must be commended, more so, when the federal government prepares to submit to Cabinet, a draft Bill on fake news.
The debacle arising from the uncorroborated allegations in Raja Petra’s articles ie fake news has drawn many comments, unscrupulous connotations as well as rude and vulgar diatribes against the very distinguished Malaysian magnate.
It also resulted with political allies snapping at each other, besides segments of society growing divided.
Unlike traditional print and electronic media of the past where people have to wait to read or listen to the news, social media can forwarded immediately and even live broadcast even if an issue is unchecked. Eventhough the news has been clarified to be inaccurate, but the damage by cuberbullying is done, and the victim will always be judged by public opinion, like a trial by media.
Social media is very influential, and the proliferation of news and information, be it accurate or false, can shape people’s mindset, values, perceptions of another, and even generate after effects e.g. if there is unverified information of contaminated drinks, this can trigger a health scare, and affect a supplier.
Society cannot avoid the evolution and trends of media reporting, and news and information dissemination. Nevertheless, certain values ie reporting based on veracity, facts and figures must be upheld.
Current laws involving fake news or information, are restricted to civil suits ie defamation, and if indeed dire, there is the Sedition Act.
Raja Petra’s stories or tales leverage on character assassination. They do not serve any meaningful purpose, much less enhance inter-faith or inter-ethnic dialogue. It is timely that MCMC acts to prevent further disparaging by Raja Petra against any individual or group.
Datuk Heng Seai Kie
Wanita MCA Chairman
Adviser on National Unity & Integration in the Prime Minister’s Department