Najib: Internet users must discern truths from lies

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia- Internet users must be able to differentiate truth from lies before forming a judgment, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic).

"Internet users must be able to differentiate truths, half-truths, lies and opinion before forming their own judgment. We must be more cautious when sharing information on social media. We must continue to use the internet and social media as a platform to promote unity and prevent it from being hijacked," said Najib in a blog post on Friday.

He added that the internet should not be misused as it is a shared property owned collectively by all global citizens.

"Unfortunately, sometimes, technology is abused to incite racism or religious intolerance instead. Keyboard warriors, cyber troopers and even news portals have made the online world their "playground", constructing their own version of "reality" with click bait headlines that serve their own agendas. This is an unhealthy practice of journalism," said Najib.

He added that the world was now almost borderless due to the advancement of the internet and social media.

"Gone are the days when the narratives of our society are dictated by the Government. The internet has transformed the way we transfer and receive information. Everything moves at a faster pace, information is exchanged and conveyed in almost real time; and the Government is expected to do the same," said Najib.

He spoke of a meeting with Malaysians who he praised as responsible internet users, Dr Raja Shamri, Revathy Bawadas Kumar, Kuan Chee Heng, Dr Aznil Hisham and Dr Teh Su Thye.

"These remarkable Malaysians have one thing in common - they use their influence online for the greater good. Their work have caught the attention and inspired thousands of followers, inspiring them to keep their optimism and belief in our beloved country. We must not allow this optimism and belief to be tainted by a few bad apples. Like me, they too, are staunch believers of 1Malaysia," said Najib.

Najib added that 2014 was a true test of Malaysian unity, saying that social media became part of the the nation's support system.

"When our country was hit by the worse flood in decades, when MH370 and MH17 tragedies struck, there was an overwhelming sense of togetherness that had cut through the political, race or religious divide. Our netizens became the main driver for collective relief efforts and hashtags were created to spread words of encouragement," said Najib.

He added that the battle of perception would continue as the internet is an open space for the voices of the people.

"The internet is a powerful tool that can both shape and dismantle a society. It is also a great space for discourse to take place. I urge all Malaysians to continue to stand together and use the internet for the greater good. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that our unity and harmony is preserved. After all, we are 1Malaysia," said Najib.