|Liew clarifies amendment to Evidence Act|
|Thursday, 12 July 2012 08:56am|
©Malay Mail (Used by permission)
by T.K. Letchumy Tamboo
UNDER the new amendment to the Evidence Act 1950, social media account owners will not be held responsible for any sort of defamatory publication posted by others into their accounts for the sole purpose of sharing information.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said this is because the presumption of fact in publication introduced under Section 114(a) of the Act will not apply in such a situation.
"However, if Facebook or Twitter account owners or users spread the defamatory publication despite knowing the fact that the publication is subversive and aimed at throwing the ruling government which was selected democratically off power, then, they will be held accountable for their acts," he told Dewan Negara yesterday.
Liew said this when responding to a query by Khoo Soo Seang, who wanted to know whether sharing news or information through the social media like Facebook and Twitter will hold the user liable under the new amendment.
The Evidence (Amendment) (No 2) Act 2012, through the insertion of Section 114(a) states that a person whose name, photograph or pseudonym appears on any publication depicting himself as the owner, host, administrator, editor or sub-editor, or who in any manner facilitates to publish or re-publish the publication is presumed to have published or republished the contents of the publication unless the contrary is proved.
Liew explained that under the amendment, if Facebook and Twitter users can prove that they are not the owner, host, administrator, editor or sub-editor of an account which a defamatory publication originates from, then they will also not be held accountable for such a publication.
Liew said the presumption will only be made by the court if a clear fact and evidence exists and even then, the accused can defy the presumption by proving otherwise.
"For example someone steals your Facebook or Twitter account's password and uses your account to post defamatory statements. At that time, you lost your laptop that contains your password.
"You can use this fact as evidence and prove that you were not the person who posted the defamatory statements.
In such a case, the presumption of fact in publication has been successfully banished.
"If someone hacks into your computer and steals your password to post defamatory statements, that could also be an evidence to break the presumption of fact in publication," he said.
Liew said Facebook or Twitter owners and users must have the moral obligation to block or filter news or information that is subversive and violent.
"When it comes to investigations, any cases involving internet usage will be thoroughly investigated by the police and a complete investigation report will be submitted to the prosecutor to decide whether a person can be charged or otherwise.
"The prosecutor's decision depends on strong evidence and an internet user found to be not at fault, will not be charged," he said.
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