KUALA LUMPUR: Publishers, editors and journalists have a duty to combat the emergence of fake news in social media and foreign newspapers, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
He said Malaysia has not been spared from becoming the target of many unscrupulous parties who spread fake news with uncorroborated evidence.
"We are far from immune to this problem here in Malaysia. We have had former leaders talking about Malaysia going bankrupt.
"We have had people talking about Malaysia being in danger of becoming a failed state," he said in his speech at the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) Asian Media Awards tonight.
Najib said whenever the government’s opponents spread fake news, some people believed them because they believed in the people telling the rumours.
Najib said other countries recognised and placed confidence in Malaysia's capability, proven by the series of huge investments over the past few months announced by China, Saudi Arabia and India.
"I ask you, does that sound like a failed state to you?," he asked the audience.
He added that fake news entering the mainstream, and lies masquerading as facts are "cancerous" to journalism, and that the disease posed very serious effects.
"The government of Malaysia will be on your side. All we ask in return is the opportunity to remind you to rely in your reporting and sourcing, in whichever country that may be, (and) not on rumours, not on unsourced anonymous quotes, and not on invented propaganda."