Comms Ministry to focus on ‘cooling down’ social media, says Fahmi Fadzil

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will continue to respect the right to freedom of expression including on social media, but users are reminded not to create slander and sow the seeds of hatred to create unrest in the country, says Fahmi Fadzil.

The Communications and Digital Minister said various false and defamatory news had emerged during and after the 15th General Election (GE15), which saw the country experience a hung Parliament.

He said the country was now governed by a unity government and that the current focus was to work on steering the country toward a better path.

“So now, after holding this position (as Communications and Digital Minister), one of my priorities is to ‘cool down’ social media. The right to express exists, (and so does) the right of journalists.

“Like for example… monitoring the government. That’s a very good motto, but don’t turn it into baseless slander, or plant the seeds of hatred, extremism, I was very much affected by the (last) general election, sometimes (there were things) said that were a bit extreme… if you want to be political, be political, but be moderate,” he said when appearing as a guest on the “Agenda Awani” programme on Thursday (Dec 15) night.

Touching on the freedom of the media, Fahmi said as long as it is within the ambit of the law, the media is free and has the right to report current developments.

He, however, said that in addition to understanding the limits of the law, the limits of decency also need to be taken into account when reporting the news.

“They can monitor, I see that there is a need for the media to carry out their duties, the media is the fourth estate, one of the pillars of democracy, so please go ahead, but not to the point of being misinterpreted, denigrating religion, royal institutions, we draw the line,” he said.

Meanwhile, on the internet coverage in the country, Fahmi said engagements had been made with the parties involved, including service providers, so that costs could be reduced for the people.

“Soon, we hope to have some ‘good news’ regarding this matter,” he said.

Earlier, Fahmi said the Ministry was holding discussions with industry players to lower the price of telecommunication services in the country. – Bernama