|Law to protect Web users|
|Thursday, 13 September 2012 08:45am|
©The New Straits Times (Used by permission)
by Ili Liyana Mokhtar
MODERN LAW: Amendment to Evidence Act will ensure responsible online reporting, says prime minister
KUALA LUMPUR: THE amendment to the Evidence Act is aimed at shielding people from Internet-based crimes, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday.
"As a government, it is our responsibility to ask, 'How do we ensure responsible online reporting? How do we ensure that people do not become victims of intimidation and cyber bullying?
"And also, how do we ensure that freedom coexists with respect?'
"It was with these questions in mind that we amended the act.
"Perhaps, it wasn't explained enough what this meant for Web users in Malaysia, and I believe it is a modern and forward-looking piece of legislation," he said at the National Press Club 2012 awards.
"If we were to build a democracy that was truly responsive to the needs of all our people and not just some of them, we must empower the media, both old and new, to responsibly report what they see.
"I have always said I want the online space to be vibrant, just as I want a traditional media that is free, transparent and fair. That is why we introduced the Printing Presses and Publications Bill to further liberalise the media."
Najib said one of the greatest achievements of this generation was that information could be shared across the world, with friends, families and strangers.
"While this changing landscape is both exhilarating and liberating, with it comes new ethical questions.
"I know that all of you here instinctively understand the responsibility to report what you see accurately, and to inform your audience without prejudice.
"However, online users can deploy guerilla tactics to misinform, slander or harass, and can do so under the cloak of anonymity."
He said whatever the medium, journalism was an irreplaceable element of democracy.
"The best journalism is bold, inquisitive and accountable; fearless in spirit and open in practice.
"That is the kind of journalism that we wish to encourage," he added.
He congratulated NPC award winners and said everyone in the media industry had made the Malaysian media industry a vibrant industry that it was.
"You conscientiously report the truth, bringing insight and illumination to the public, helping Malaysia on its path to becoming a developed nation."
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