Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Understanding what constitutes fake news
Salleh Said Keruak
Those opposed to the new fake news law say that this law is aimed at silencing debate regarding 1MDB. But this is not true. There is nothing to stop anyone from debating or talking about 1MDB. The issue is when someone start spreading ‘news’ and ‘facts’ which are false. For example, we keep hearing ‘news’ that RM42 billion of 1MDB’s money has ‘disappeared’ into thin air, when this has been officially explained and proven false. The bigger issue here is to deal with the irresponsible spread of such fake ‘news’ and ‘facts’, which applies to many other situations in our lives.
When a lie is repeated too many times, people can believe it to be true. This is the disease of fake news which affects the world globally, not just Malaysia. The truth is not subjective. It has to be precise and backed with evidence which is verified to be true. If not, it would be mere claims and allegation, with nothing proven. Everyone should understand this concept, so that they would not be easily misled by ‘fake news’.
In law, the burden of proof is always on the person who puts the claim or allegation. The defendant is innocent, until proven guilty. So its surprising that some Malaysians appear ignorant of this very basic rule. If you claim something, then you have to prove it to be true. You have to show your evidence, which needs to be verified for truth and authenticity.