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MCMC denies being govt tool to silence criticism
Published on: Thursday, June 20, 2024
By: FMT
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MCMC denies being govt tool to silence criticism
Malaysia reportedly made 1,862 requests to TikTok for the removal of certain content in the second half of last year, more than any other country.
PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) today denied being used as a tool to silence criticism against the government.

In a statement, MCMC said 72% of its requests for the removal of content across all social media platforms involved online gambling and scams.

“As of June 13, 53% of online content removal requests by MCMC across all platforms were related to online gambling. Additionally, 19% involved online scams, 15% were identified as fake news, 6% were related to race, religion, and royalty (3Rs), and 5% involved harassment.

“Ensuring a safe online environment is a shared goal between MCMC and social media platforms. To this end, social media platforms routinely and consistently perform proactive removal themselves against content that violates their community standards,” it said.

The commission also denied that it was being used to prevent public discourse on issues pertaining to the government or its policies, saying this suggested that Putrajaya and other regulatory bodies could not tolerate criticism.

“This perception is inaccurate and does not reflect the operations of MCMC and social media platforms,” it said.

Malaysia reportedly made 1,862 requests to TikTok for the removal of certain content in the second half of last year, more than any other country. The nation that made the second-most requests during that period was Australia, with just 651.

TikTok said it received a total of 2,202 requests from Malaysia last year, as opposed to 70 the preceding year.

Similarly, Meta said it had restricted around 8,600 pieces of content in Malaysia the whole of last year, a staggering increase from the 553 content restrictions imposed in 2022.

Nonetheless, MCMC said it would only submit requests to online platforms if there was content deemed to have breached community standards or Malaysian laws, and that the actual removal of such content was based on the platform’s own assessments.

It added that 1.8 million pieces of online content were proactively removed by “one of the social media platforms” in the fourth quarter of last year without any request from the authorities.

“These include content promoting bullying and harassment, privacy violations, hate speech, misinformation, spam, coordinated inauthentic behaviour, misinformation that directly contributes to interference with the functioning of the political process, and certain highly deceptive manipulated media.

“Although criticism of the government or politicians is allowed, there are legal limitations to media freedom, particularly when it comes to sensitive issues such as the 3Rs,” it added.

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