Blog, portal owners must reveal identities: Najib

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will not emulate Singapore's move requiring blogs and news portals to be licensed, but will instead opt for self-regulatory measures that make it necessary for blog and website owners to reveal their identities, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said in handling the challenges of a mature nation, the government would ensure social media practitioners are more responsible in disseminating information.

He was speaking at the Malaysian Journalists Night 2013 and Malaysian MPI-Petronas Media Awards 2012 here last night.

Najib said the government would study the proposal for blog and news portal owners to provide information about their identities in their websites.

"No more anonymous writers, as is practised now. This is to ensure that information presented isn't considered libel (fitnah), which can jeopardise unity. It is also to ensure that writers are responsible and accountable for what they write."

He said the authorities would take action against owners of blogs and portals who failed to do so.

Najib said under the Communications and Multimedia Act and MSC Malaysia Bill of Guarantees, there would be no filtering of the Internet.

However, through the implementation of self-regulatory measures, action would be taken against blog or portal owners who spread false and slanderous information, he added.

"The government, for instance, will not move to license news portals, as what has been done in a neighbouring country.

"However, to safeguard national harmony, the government will enforce laws to ensure that anyone attempting to create factionalism using race, religion, language or try to belittle the royal institution or subvert the democratic parliamentary system, will face action."

He said the country's media and news organisation landscape had evolved tremendously, with print and electronic media being complemented by online media.

"Media democracy and the freedom of expression have become a reality. We have witnessed the full use of new and traditional media in the 13th General Election."

Najib said the dissemination of false, slanderous and provocative information that incited hate in social media, which was prevalent during the polls by those who called themselves journalists, did not benefit anyone.

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