SEREMBAN: Those bent on spreading fake news are doing so at their own peril, says Gobind Singh Deo.
The Communications and Multimedia Minister said it was unfortunate that some people still resorted to this despite repeated reminders from the authorities not to do so.
“The Government views such irresponsible acts seriously. As minister, I have also repeatedly reminded the people to be careful with what they share but we still get such cases,” he told reporters after launching the Information Department’s state-level “Info on Wheels” initiative at the market here.
Gobind said the police, which had also repeatedly advised the people against spreading fake news, would probe anyone suspected of doing so once a report is lodged.
The minister was responding to a statement by Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas on Wednesday (Feb 5), who said he viewed seriously the incredible volume of lies relating to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.
Thomas also warned against the spread of bogus information relating to the coronavirus on social media.
He added those who did so would be investigated and might face charges under the Penal Code for fear mongering, adding that freedom of speech and the right not to censor the Internet were not a licence to propagate lies.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Mazlan Mansor also came out strongly against the spate of fake news being circulated about the coronavirus.
The police, he said, have opened 13 investigations papers as of Wednesday.
“Those who spread fake news should know that their actions are cause unnecessary panic among the people.
“So be prepared to face the music if you resort to such tactics,” he said adding that his ministry would do everything within its capacity to counter lies.
Gobind said since the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in China on Jan 27, the Information Department had organised 935 programmes to educate the people on prevention.
“On our part, we, together with other government agencies will continue with efforts to provide the people with information on the coronavirus as well as other important issues such as the toll reduction on the North South Expressway and the e-Tunai initiative.
“We want the people to get the right information,” he said.
Gobind said the people could also follow the relevant government agencies on their respective social media platforms or the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s website, sebenarnya.my if they needed latest updates or to verify viral news. -The Star