MCMC: Fake news up 100 percent towards GE14

MCMC has detected more than 30 false stories regarding the EC.

Most of them highlighted the presence of phantom voters from Bangladesh.

According to the commission, the number of fake news reports detected by sebenarnya.my had increased by almost 100 per cent.

KUALA LUMPUR: In the run-up to the 14th General Election (GE14), the Election Commission has been the biggest victim of fake news.

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chief operating officer Datuk Dr Mazlan Ismail said since March, its fact-checking website, sebenarnya.my, had detected more than 30 false stories regarding the EC.

He said most of them highlighted the presence of phantom voters from Bangladesh.

“On Wednesday, a viral story about Bangladeshis with blue caps seen entering the country to become phantom voters began circulating online.

“They are actually workers who happened to wear blue caps with the white logo of the factory where they work,” he said.

“Even a banner, which was printed in the Telugu language for the Indian community in Bagan Datuk, was viralled as the Bangladeshi language,” he said at Bicara BH’s “Kuasa di Hujung Jari” (The power at your fingertip) programme at Balai Berita Bangsar here yesterday.

Mazlan said during this election season, the number of fake news reports detected by sebenarnya.my had increased by almost 100 per cent.

“Last year, the average number of postings that were taken down were only 16. For this year, the average number of postings taken down from January to last month was 40 and last month alone, 100 postings were taken down.”

He said only three websites were blocked last year, but, last month alone saw more than 40 websites blocked due to unverified information posted.

Mazlan said the EC had appointed officers and volunteers on the ground, with more than 14 countries to help monitor GE14.

“With the number of volunteers and officers involved in GE14, I’m sure the EC can identify phantom voters if there were any. To put a stop to fake news, it depends on us Malaysians.

“As long as there is someone who wants to believe in fake news, these “factories” churning out fake news will continue to produce more fake stories,” he said.

Mazlan was one of three panellists for the Bicara BH programme, which saw Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris Vice-Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohammad Shatar Sabran and Federation of Malay Students Union vice-president Rafidah Mohd Arifin sharing their views during the 90-minute session.

Shatar said the younger generation must be exposed to national policies so that they could better understand issues and not make hasty decisions.

“The younger generation is vulnerable to offers and populist promises, like the pressure to change the current government, although the reality is not as great as claimed.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that students know the reality. They can make whatever decisions they want, but they need to know the consequences of their decisions.”

He said one of the methods to ensure the younger generation understood policies was through visuals.

“For example, in the issue of fake news, to spread the message to the younger generation, we can use visual elements so that they will read about effects of fake news.

“We are no longer in the era where public talks can be used to spread the message. In this digital era, visuals can help people understand the reality.”

Rafidah said the younger generation should be guided in choosing GE14 candidates.

She said the large number of young voters, around 6.1 million, could play a pivotal role in determining the new government.

“Eligible young voters, aged between 21 and 29, make up  2.6 million people, while those aged 30 to 39 make up 3.5 million people, totalling 6.1 million.

“Thus, they need guidance to equip themselves with the knowledge on who to choose so that they will not make the wrong decision.”

Source: NST Online

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