Ministry to look into amending Communications and Multimedia Act section said to stifle freedom of expression

Kalbana Perimbanayagam, HIDAYATUL AKMAL AHMAD

KUALA LUMPUR: The Communications and Multimedia Ministry is looking for the most feasible option to amend Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA).

Its minister, Gobind Singh Deo, said following the recent repeal of the Anti-Fake News Act, the ministry was now studying to bring changes to parts of Section 233, a section of the law which he deemed as offensive and needed to be amended.

“We are looking at amending certain parts of it. There may be amendments that relate to a few parts of the law, including bringing in new provisions,” Gobind said when opening the ‘Think Media with Google’ conference held at the Aloft.

Section 233 of the act deals with improper use of network facilities or network service when disseminating information via the Internet.

He said the limitations and regulations in the act should be more precise and detailed, as it can be wrongly used to prosecute a person, adding that some believe the act stifled freedom of expression.

Meanwhile, event organiser Google is now offering Malaysian journalists training on digital content at Google Malaysia to improve existing journalism skills in line with the technological demands and digitalisation.

Google Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines and New Emerging Markets managing director Sajith Sivanandan said the training was mainly for journalists to upskill their digital knowledge in the industry.

He said their training covers digital journalism tools, data journalism and verification tools formedia practitioners on a first come first serve basis.

“People come to Google looking for information they can trust, and that information often comes from the reporting of journalists and news organisations around the world,” he said while addressing the crowd.

Sajith said while the demand for quality journalism is as high as it’s ever been, the business of journalism is under pressure, as publications around the world face challenges from an industry-wide transition to digital.

He also welcomed Malaysian journalists and media practitioners to join training workshops which begin next month. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd