Commentary

Malaysia’s Fake News Bill Delay Chance to Manage Racial Disinformation

The politics of delay around the repeal of Malaysia's Fake News Bill offers an opportunity to manage racial disinformation that can lead to social tensions. This is important as post-elections posturing in the country has brought ethnic politicking to the fore. While it has been argued that the promotion of falsehoods and hatred between communities can be dealt through existing laws such as MCMC Act 1998 - where publishers are mostly held accountable - content created and disseminated by individual producers over social media and extra-territorially beg consideration in any legal or other type of intervention. According to We Are…

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ASEAN’s non-interference policy hinders Rohingya justice

In spite of the United Nations (UN) Fact Finding Commission’s indictment on 28 August 2018, recommending Myanmar’s military officials “be investigated and prosecuted” for “genocidal intent” and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya and other minority groups in Myanmar, the pursuit of justice for the victims and accountability for crimes perpetrated will be hard to achieve at the regional level as ASEAN continues to provide Myanmar protective cover through the bloc’s non-interference policy.Add to this, regional commercial interests in Myanmar and a regional geopolitical climate that does not favour the protection of human rights, then justice for the Rohingyas slips…

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ASEAN’s Fake News Declaration Neglects State Propaganda

ASEAN’s framework to minimize the harmful effects of fake news has a serious omission if we look at the issue of disinformation holistically. What is glaringly absent in the joint declaration signed on 10 May 2018 by ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information is the neglect to mention the harmful effects of partisan propaganda of the member States. But why would the declaration do so? After all, governments in the region, even before the days of the internet, have  historically been the purveyors of “fake news”, which includes partisan propaganda. They are the ones rolling out one-sided agenda-setting and socialization programmes…

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Establish a Malaysian Democracy Foundation

Following Malaysia's dramatic election in 2018, a range of efforts involving legal, institutional and cultural reforms are currently being initiated to consolidate democracy in Malaysia. However, the establishment of a 'Malaysian Democracy Foundation" or MDF presents a unique opportunity to further institutionalize democracy in the country as well as act as a catalyst in Southeast Asia and beyond. It would be the first such Foundation in Southeast Asia. The proposed MDF could be modeled on other such institutional mechanisms, notably in South Korea and Taiwan. Their experiences in conceptualizing, institutionalizing, funding and operationalizing the Korean Democracy Foundation (KDF) and the Taiwan…

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