Is it true? No, it’s just another fake news doing the round on social media. But fake news keeps spreading by the second as readers quickly pass on the news as speedily as received. Alarming news or false awareness seems easier to spread than any other information. And wave of emotions and sentiments that sway the mood often helps in the dissemination of fake news. As fake news rule social media, surely stringent rules are needed to save the world from wrong information.
While government and concerned authorities in several countries are gearing up against fake news, the Malaysian Government has proposed a law to check "fake news" with the aim to safeguard the public while ensuring the right to freedom of expression. The guilty can be punished with maximum 10 years in jail or a fine of up to 500,000 ringgit ($130,000). Also, anyone who breaks the law outside the country with what authorities deem to be "fake news" concerning Malaysia would face punishment in Malaysia.
However, as the anti-fake news bill is being tabled in Malaysian Parliament - Dewan Rakyat – the news has already fuelled concern among authorities and social groups. Some fear that the government may use the bill to crack down on dissent or use it as a tool to check criticism.
Like every blade has two sides, the Malaysian Government may have a political reason for its action as elections are nearing, but the move, if implemented, may help to check the dissemination of hoaxed or fake news and the spread of false alarm.
Call it human nature or basic instinct related to the original sin. The creation of fake news is mostly associated with a certain negative intent. Believe it or not, it thrives as it has a mass consumption. Some slurp it up. Some ignore it.
While a common reader may ignore fake news as a thing that goes around endlessly, the concern is rising as the issue is posing a serious threat to those in power, democracy and free speech. While the governments attempt to sharpen tools to strengthen its hold on power, there is a strong need to weaken the weapon of fake news for reason best known.