Fake news rampant despite threat of legal action

KUALA LUMPUR: The movement control order (MCO) enters its third week with most people obeying the ruling, but fake news still thrives on social media.

Despite repeated reminders on social media ethics and punishment set for those who spread fake news, some netizens continue to do so.

A total of 184 investigation papers were opened and 20 cases were charged in court linked with the spread of fake news on Covid-19 and the MCO, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob recently.

Legal action was taken under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which provides a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment for up to a year, or both, upon conviction.

Meanwhile, those looking to buy face masks are asked to be careful of fraudulent offers, especially when buying items through advertisements on social media sites.

Based on recent media reports, a total of 501 cheating cases involving the sale of face masks were reported nationwide since enforcement of the MCO until last Friday, involving losses of more than RM3.5mil.

A total of 37 people, all Malaysians aged between 21 and 45, have been arrested, with 22 of them being charged in court with the offence.

The MCO started on March 18, with its second phase in effect from April 1 till 14. — Bernama

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