Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to slander, says Zahid

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Source: The Malaysian Insight

THE government will not allow the phenomenon of fake news dissemination and slander via social media in the name of freedom of expression.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said measures needed to be taken before the phenomenon (of slander and disseminating fake news) was treated as the norm amongst the people.

“We do not want these practices tolerated and accepted as ‘freedom of expression’ in the name of democracy… whereby, slandering others is common… (and making someone angry) is considered success.

“When a person ends up feeling ashamed, it is considered a proud moment for those who instigate the slander, and it is such a negative culture, so we must change it,” he said.

Zahid, who is also home minister, said this when speaking at the opening of the Sabah Umno Social Media Convention here today.

Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, Sabah Deputy Chief Minister and state UMNO liaison secretary Yahya Hussin and Umno Information Technology bureau chairman Ahmad Maslan.

Zahid said as of September this year, 4,702 cases of defamation, fake news dissemination and other social media offences had been reported to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

He said of the total, 4,003 cases were currently being investigated for further action and among them were 60 cases involving defamation, 20 fake news cases and 43 cases relating to identity fraud.

According to the minister, from January to November this year, the police also received 203 reports related to social media offences and action was being carried out on the reports.

He said Malaysia currently ranked sixth in the world in terms of social media usage, with 3.5 hours daily per person. – Bernama, December 16, 2017.