CYBERJAYA, August 21 – As Malaysia prepares for state elections in six states, the Communications Multimedia and Content Forum (Content Forum) is urging politicians and the public to uphold integrity and refrain from spreading misinformation and hate speech during the campaign season. Mediha Mahmood, Executive Director of the Content Forum, stresses the importance of avoiding the dissemination of false information, fake news, and harmful propaganda. Such actions not only violate the law but also have the potential to fuel ill will and animosity among different communities.
Under the Election Offences Act 1954 and the Communications and Multimedia Content Code, it is an offence to engage in activities that incite hate, harassment, defamation, or misleading content to influence voting in an election. The Content Code strictly prohibits menacing content, hate propaganda, and the dissemination of false information that may mislead the public. Mahmood emphasizes the need for self-regulation, especially when discussing sensitive topics related to race, religion, gender, and other marginalized communities.
Politicians are urged to refrain from using minorities and marginalized communities as political pawns and to avoid weaponizing sensitive and controversial issues for political gains. The impact of such harmful practices can outlast the election period and may have far-reaching consequences on society. Integrity is a crucial aspect of political campaigning, and politicians are called upon to speak the truth and avoid dishonest tactics such as smear campaigns or slander. Engaging in such behavior not only misleads the public but also exposes politicians to potential legal consequences.
Given the intensity of the campaign period, mistakes in content may occur. The public is encouraged to approach all content with caution, especially in political discourse, and to verify sources and cross-reference information. Social media users are urged to exercise self-regulation and report any hate speech or misinformation promptly to prevent further dissemination. To make informed decisions during the election period, the public is advised to verify information, check for bias, and participate in fact-checking communities.
Online resources like “sebenarnya.my” and JomCheck Malaysia via WhatsApp at 0174776659 provide fact-checking services to aid voters in making informed choices. Mediha Mahmood believes that with proactive education and prudent content consumption and sharing, Malaysians can counter harmful content effectively, creating a healthier and safer content space during the upcoming election season. By electing integrity and promoting ethical campaign practices, Malaysians can contribute to a more informed and respectful election process.