Freedom of speech guaranteed, but within legal limits, says Fahmi

KUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil says he will defend the right to freedom of speech, but only if it is based on existing laws.

He said the freedom of speech should never reach the point of defamation and baseless accusations.

"We draw the line, as a politician myself, a Member of Parliament and now minister, the freedom of speech will be defended, but must be within the law including the Communications and Multimedia Act. There are limitations and if there are offences committed, there will be legal repercussions.

"(So), what we voice out must have basis and can be defended in court,” he told a media conference after attending a briefing during his visit to Angkasapuri.

Also present was Communications and Digital Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek.

In this regard, Fahmi said, among the ministry’s focus would be to establish close cooperation between the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and social media operators.

This is to ensure the government's will to protect freedom of speech, but at the same time, also ensuring that legal boundaries are always monitored and complied with.

"If there is a violation (of the law) then there must be action taken,” he said.

Separately, Fahmi was confident that issues surrounding the development of Angkasapuri Kota Media will be resolved immediately, with the completion of the media city complex expected in the first quarter or early second quarter of 2023.

As for sick projects involving the Langkawi RTM and Bintulu RTM buildings, Fahmi expressed confidence they will be resolved as soon as possible through a meeting with the Public Works Department.

"This involves the people's money. I don't like it if there are sick projects and I believe we will be able to handle this well,” he said.

Fahmi said his current focus as minister is to ensure that the Broadcasting Department is “future ready”, and called on the department to work on efforts to improve and empower traditional media and online platforms to ensure the government's message can be better delivered.

As the official voice of the unity government, the Broadcasting Department also needs to air issues raised or resolved by the government, especially on the cost of living, public administration and good governance, in addition to efforts to reduce wastage or leakages, he said.

Asked about cyberbullying, Fahmi said it was a serious issue that has an impact on mental health, adding that the ministry will look into whether existing laws need to be reviewed. - Bernama

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Freedom of speech , Fahmi Fadzil , MCMC


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