Friday, February 26, 2016

News portals serve their own agendas, says Najib

News portals, along with "keyboard warriors" and cyber troopers, serve their own agendas, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. He said they practised "unhealthy" journalism and had their own version of reality, and urged Internet users to discern truth from lies. "Gone are the days when the narratives of our society is dictated by the government. With the advancement of the Internet and social media, the world is now almost borderless. "Unfortunately, sometimes technology is abused to incite racism or religious intolerance instead. "Keyboard warriors, cyber troopers and even news portals have made the online world their 'playground', constructing their own version of 'reality' with click bait headlines that serve their own agendas. "This is an unhealthy practice of journalism," Najib wrote in a post on his blog, "The Internet is a shared property owned collectively by all global citizens. As such, we have the responsibility not to misuse it." His post comes amid criticism from local and international groups of Putrajaya's clampdown on alternative viewpoints by local activists, politicians and journalists. The latest was the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission's (MCMC) move to block access to The Malaysian Insider news portal under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. MCMC has been criticised for its move, with observers noting that the Internet regulator did not give any notice of the block nor did it specify the offensive content or give any explanation. Lawyers have also pointed out that the legislation's broad interpretation could lead to injustice and abuse by the authorities. Najib has been the subject of news reports linking him to financial controversies involving the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) probe into debt-laden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the RM2.6 billion donation deposited into his personal accounts. In his blog, he said the Internet was an open space for the voices of the people and discourse to take place. "But is up to us to stay true to the path of moderation and not fall prey to misconstrued agendas by irresponsible users. "Internet users must be able to differentiate truths, half-truths, lies and opinions before forming their own judgment. We must be more cautious when sharing information on social media. "We must continue to use the Internet and social media as a platform to promote unity and prevent it from being hijacked." – February 26, 2016.]]>

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