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Digital Disinformation and the Need for Internet Co-regulation in Malaysia

Mahyuddin Daud and Ida Madieha Abd Ghani Azmi

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 29, Issue S2, December 2021

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.29.s2.12

Keywords: Co-regulation, disinformation, fake news, online fact checking portals, self-regulation

Published on: 17 May 2021

The spread of fake news on Covid19 is causing public unrest and suspicion among citizens which is a challenge for countries facing the pandemic. The misinformation or disinformation which stems from uncertainties, unrest, and anxiety because of movement control order procedures, financial and economic hardship caused wrong information to spread like fire. Called as ‘info-demic’, it becomes a second source of virulent information that requires arresting just like the pandemic itself. Controlling fake news in the time of pandemic is a daunting problem that slaps Internet regulation at its face. On the Internet, lies spreads faster than truth and correcting misinformation means tonnes of work. This paper examines Internet self- and co-regulatory approaches in selected jurisdictions to reduce the impact of fake news on governments, industry, and private actors. In applying content analysis as a qualitative research method, the first section analysed specific legislations enacted by parliaments to criminalise the acts of disseminating and publishing fake news. The second section examines legislative and administrative efforts to impose civil and criminal liability on platform providers to monitor online content. The final section analysed self-regulatory efforts to introduce online fact-checking portals and awareness campaigns. This paper argues that Internet self-regulation scheme in Malaysia is not bringing the desired result in the scope of maintaining peace and security of the nation. Considering how dangerous disinformation can cause to the society, more so in global emergency like the present Covid19 pandemic, it is submitted that Internet co-regulation is more suitable if the social, moral and cultural fabric of the society is to be maintained.

ISSN 0128-7702

e-ISSN 2231-8534

Article ID

JSSH(S)-1482-2021

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