Beware abundant unverified digital reading material: Mahathir
Published on: Friday, February 14, 2020
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KUALA LUMPUR: The abundant unrestricted reading material in the digital arena can be a source of fake news and other content that can destroy society, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

Dr Mahathir, who is acting Education Minister, said this is where the government and everyone else face  the challenge of having to differentiate between the truth and the fake, and to determine whether the content was derived from research or concocted at one’s whims and fancies.

 “One of the challenges we face today in encouraging the reading culture is the digital influence on society. This digital influence is so huge that traditional reading sources such as newspapers and books are increasingly sidelined.

 “Many newspaper companies have had to wind up due to dwindling sales and books are now gathering dust in libraries or on shelves. This, however, does not mean that the people have stopped reading. What has changed is the source of the reading material.

 “In fact, today, almost all newspapers have a digital version and books have also been published digitally. In that respect, the reading culture is still very much alive,” he said in his speech at the launch of the National Reading Decade (DMK) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in Bangi near here.

Commenting on the importance of a reading culture, Dr Mahathir stressed that it was a way to obtain and boost knowledge which is the basis for mankind’s self-development.

He said through the reading habit, a person will not just enrich himself with all sorts of knowledge, but he will  also able to pass it on well and effectively.

 “From the science aspect, the reading habit is an effective form of mind exercise and training besides strengthening the human brain network and encouraging the development of nerves.

 “And if we read something over and over again, what we read becomes embedded in memory and is not easily forgotten. Reading a lot will enhance a person’s emotional intelligence (EQ) and increase the intelligence quotient (IQ).

 “Both these elements are very important as they enable a person to be in control of situations and grab the opportunity to develop,” he said at the event which was also attended by deputy education Teo Nie Ching.

Dr Mahathir said to create a knowledgeable society, the programme to make the reading habit a culture must be systematically designed and extended to all levels of society in the country. – Bernama



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