KUALA LUMPUR – April 17, 2017: Malaysians are warned to expect more inaccurate and misleading news in the months ahead of the next general election.
Media experts from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) issued this caution following a recent misreporting by news portal MalaysiaKini.
The article, which was posted last week, was said to have contradicted a reply by Deputy Minister Datuk Razali Ibrahim in parliament on March 23. MalaysiaKini has since deleted the article and apologised to Razali.
However, the original report by the portal continues to circulate in cyberspace.
Netizens who appear supportive of the government think that the damage has been done, with the article prompting opposition leaders and supporters to attack Razali.
UiTM’s Shahnon Mohamed Salleh said the public should expect more misleading news as part of a campaign tactic for the election.
He said the MalaysiaKini report could have been political trickery and part of a propaganda strategy by the opposition.
“Judging on history, I think it can be quite safe to say so. There have been cases of lies (in the media) like the claims on 40,000 Bangladeshi voters in the last general election and power blackouts,” he said.
According to Shahnon, the media must be held accountable for any misreporting and the authorities must better enforce the law.
Associate Professor Adnan Hashim said there is a possibility that the opposition is indeed taking advantage of instances of media misreporting to demean Barisan Nasional leaders.
Adnan thinks people would eventually lose confidence in the media outlets that keep on harping on fake news.
He reminded that media practitioners must abide by journalism ethics and remain truthful.