Human rights advocates: Fake news on Wuhan virus needs combatting, but not over-policing - Malay Mail

So a few days ago I gave an email interview to Malay Mail on the issue of fake news and the on going Wuhan Virus or the novel Coronavirus. Here's an excerpt of the story by Soo Wern Jun and Danial Dzulkifly.

“Looking at the trend over the last few years, you can almost see a pattern; that the intensity of fake news and conspiracy theory tend to increase whenever there is a crisis such of MH370, MH17 or a big event like the GE14.

“The ongoing coronavirus outbreak is no exception. There are many reasons for this. One of them is the fact that it is so easy to produce fake information and secondly, people are sharing unverified news from unreliable/unknown sources online.

“But we are not alone. The rest of the world is facing the same problem too, including China. For example, not all of the pictures and videos of some people consuming wild animals are actually in Wuhan or related to the coronavirus. But this has been (made viral) and shared and viewed by possibly millions of people worldwide.”

Shahnon suggested that the government, as well as the medical community, take a more proactive role in debunking and refuting rumours surrounding the Wuhan virus.

“The medical community online too, have done their part in exposing some of the fake news on Facebook and Twitter.

“The government needs to recognise that rumours and fake news exists and thrives in the absence of real news and facts, so they need to keep the public informed at all times,’’ he said, lauding the Ministry of Health for their role in providing clear information on the virus.

Shahnon, however, said that fake news does not constitute free speech.

“On free speech, I do not see any issue or conflict here. We can argue on the rules, guidelines and regulations but people need to understand that fake news is not free speech. That should be the principle,’’ he said.

Source: Malay Mail