PETALING JAYA: The rise of online bullying and cyber harassment has increased in recent years, with Malaysia's growing internet penetration rate and high usage of social media tools.
To raise awareness and implore people to self-regulate their online behaviour, PeopleACT (People Against Cyber Threats/Harassment) has launched an online poster campaign called #WiseUpWithWan.
It is part of PeopleACT's wider strategy to counter hateful comments, shaming, intimidation, death and rape threats, and other forms of online violence in cyberspace.
PeopleACT is an initiative by the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR) under its UndiMsia! Programme.
"With the #WiseUpWithWan campaign, we want to showcase a message of defiance against cyberharassers, and encourage netizens to choose their words wisely in an attempt to stamp down violence and shoot down hate within our online space," said PeopleACT campaigner Lim Ka Ea in a statement on Saturday.
Wise Wan, in the form of a fictional character, urges netizens to think before they type and not let cyber-harassment win.
Each poster carries a strong message to challenge and put a stop to the use of deeply damaging, hateful comments online.
PeopleACT has held consultative meetings with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders throughout the year to gather input on an issue paper drafted last year on whether the current laws in Malaysia are sufficient to address cyber harassment.
All members of the public are welcome to participate in this consultative process by submitting their feedback on the issue paper by Oct 7, 2017.
"Due to the anonymous nature of the internet, online harassers feel emboldened and uninhibited when making death threats, rape threats and other abusive comments. With PeopleACT and the #WiseUpWithWan campaign, we hope to make our cyberspace safer, more respectful and empowering for all Malaysians through legislative reform and public awareness," Lim added.
A survey conducted by PeopleACT last year found that 400 Malaysians felt that hateful comment is a violent form of cyber harassment.
One in six men (as opposed to 1 in 9 women) have experienced online shaming, i.e. having their personal details and photos exposed by someone who disagrees with them.
Women are at least twice as likely to be victims of online sexual harassment (20.9%) compared to men (9.8%).
To end cyber harassment and ensure Malaysia cyberspaces are hate-free, PeopleACT urges netizens to take charge and respond to any hate comments seen on the internet by replying with the below poster and hashtag #WiseUpWithWan.
To download the poster, visit http://cms.lb.my/mcchr-org/sla/wiseupwithwan