Hateful content: Legislate, act more targeted

Hateful content: Legislate, act more targeted

KUALA LUMPUR: Fighting fake news and hateful content is not enough just with the formation of new acts and laws.

On the other hand, Malaysian ISIS Researcher Harris Zainul believes that the formation of any act and law needs to be scrutinized and refined to enable it to achieve the desired target.

“First, we need to improve digital and information literacy among the people. This can be done through online courses and awareness campaigns and exposure to related modules.

“Secondly, the government needs to increase the level of media freedom and the level of professionalism among the media. This can be done through the media council that has been discussed since 2018, so that the media industry can regulate its own industry without government and political interference.

“After everything has been implemented, only then can a new law be considered, if there is a need. The law should be specific to the targeted topic.

“With all this, the government can control hate speech and false information without restricting freedom of expression,” he said when he appeared on the New Government Watch program on Thursday.

He said, the existing Communications Act and Sedition Act are not specific and too general and make it difficult for action to be taken, and they are also poorly understood by the public.

“More specific or targeted topics should be the government’s priority to deal with hate speech, there should be specific laws, don’t pile everything in one general law or act,” he explained.

He added, filtering content that has been published on any social media platform can be quite difficult, especially when the owner or provider of the platform does not understand the context and history of a country.

“Referring to the statement of the Minister of Communications, the government reported 202 contents to Tiktok but only 123 contents were acted upon.

“The question that arises is why the government thinks the content deserves action, but Tiktok doesn’t?

“Moving forward, it may be possible to parallelize the type of content that we, as Malaysians, feel is inappropriate in the context of this country, based on the guidelines of social media platforms,” ​​he added.

Users can also play a role by identifying content that is deliberately uploaded or paid for, with the intent to provoke.

“If before the account only had sports, health or beauty content , suddenly there is inflammatory or political content, there is a possibility that it is paid content.

“What social media platform owners or providers can do is that they should be more serious in trying to clarify whether a piece of content is paid, because users have the right to know whether the content they see is organic or paid,” he explained.

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