KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) reiterated that it plays a crucial role in regulating the communications and multimedia industry in Malaysia, guided by the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
The act, it said, entrusts the commission with relevant legal duties of utmost importance, including ensuring that online platforms are not used for committing or attempting to commit any offence under the laws of Malaysia.
“This includes taking necessary action to tackle issues such as the spread of false information, offensive content, and defamation.
“In recent times, there has been an alarming increase in news reporting that lacks responsibility, sensibility and accuracy,” it said in a statement.
The commission was responding to a joint statement issued by a group of veteran journalists, who had accused MCMC of playing “Big Brother” by allegedly blocking media online content.
The journalists, in a joint statement, had voiced concern over MCMC’s action of calling up media practitioners to explain content carried in their news portals and online sites.
The statement was signed by National Journalism Laureate Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar, veteran newsman Datuk Abdul Kadir Jasin, Sinar Harian managing editor Datuk Hussamuddin Yaacob, and former Bernama chairman Datuk Seri Azman Ujang.
The other signatories were Malaysian Press Institute chief executive officer Datuk Chamil Wariya, Datuk Yong Soo Heong, Datuk Zakaria Abdul Wahab and Dr G. Manimaran.
They claimed that the disputed contents were merely reported opinion pieces deemed critical of the government.
“The complaints by media practitioners that their sites have been blocked are on the rise. It is an unhealthy trend that must be stopped immediately.
“We believe that the regulatory body has other priorities…blocking websites is not one of them,” they said.
MCMC said some of the news outlets have been found irresponsible in spreading or intentionally publishing inaccurate content.
It said the rise of converged media, where user-generated content gains traction and ethical reporting takes a back seat, has accentuated this problem.
“With the vast amount of information available online, it becomes challenging to distinguish between fact and fiction.
“This poses a significant threat to societal harmony, as misleading information can be easily propagated and false narratives can be created,” it said.
MCMC said it has been taking the initiative to hold dialogues and meetings with news outlets to address outstanding concerns and issues.
To combat these issues, MCMC said it remains resolute in executing its regulatory obligations to ensure the integrity of information and maintain harmony. – The Vibes, August 29, 2023