The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has set up an official Telegram account for its Sebenarnya.my portal to strengthen its ongoing efforts to fight fake news on social media. This includes current issues like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Members of the public who have doubts about a piece of news or information including COVID-19 can access to verified information via https://t.me/sebenarnyamy.
COVID-19 matters sent through the Telegram account are cross-checked and verified by relevant authorities including the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Specifically for COVID-19 issues, the MCMC will be sharing various forms of content including news, announcements, reminders, PSAs and general questions that have been verified by the Ministry of Health. These will also be disseminated via respective official social channels as well as the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC), extracted from https://t.me/cprckkm.
Alternatively, the public can refer to the Sebenarnya.my portal to verify the authenticity of a news posting. That aside, unverified news can also be channelled to the portal directly via https://sebenarnya.my/salur/ or the Sebenarnya.my mobile app to be verified by the Ministry of Health (MOH). The mobile app is available for Android and iOS.
The MCMC reminds the public to not spread unverified news in order to avoid unnecessary confusion. The agency continues to crack down on the spread of false, unverified news. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the MCMC and the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) have arrested six individuals suspected to have spread false news about the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on social media and messaging platforms. The authorities picked up an individual on the first day and subsequently four more on day two.
Under Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act (AKM) 1998, offenders can receive a maximum fine of MYR50,000 or imprisonment for up to a year, or both, and shall be liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for every day during which the offence is continued after conviction. Individuals can also be investigated under Section 505 of the Penal Code, which carries two years imprisonment or a fine or both upon conviction.