Govt mulls forming panel to regulate digital media

The proposed committee is expected to assist in handling matters related to social media abuse and other factors not covered by the current laws

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government is currently studying a proposal that would facilitate the establishment of an independent committee which would be instrumental in regulating the various digital media platforms.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said the proposed committee is expected to assist the ministry particularly in managing matters pertaining to social media abuse and other drawbacks that might not be covered by the current laws.

Gobind added that the proposal will be presented to the Cabinet during the next parliamentary session.

“I’m open to that suggestion. I think it is an attractive proposal because it is a decision that would have a social impact.

“I hope to do it soon and we will be discussing it this quarter in the (next) parliamentary session. However, the number of government entities involved is yet to be confirmed,” he said at the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) “Afternoon Insights” event in Petaling Jaya (PJ), Selangor yesterday.

Gobind said the selected committee will be used to gather feedback from the public in order to acquire targeted advice in combating fake news.

“In essence, what we want is to find a mechanism that can receive feedback from the public and main stakeholders, and we have to make sure that all sides are heard.

“It is a structure that is not, in any way, controlled by the government. It must have independence,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gobind said the five-year development of the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) could be fulfilled prior to its timeframe.

“Realistically, the time frame should be five years, but I think it is too long. When we planned it, we think five years is reasonable, but we actually are able to work before the time frame is up as we are currently looking at other tools available.

“For example, we are looking at Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s infrastructure which has already been constructed,” he said.

Gobind added that within the suggested time frame, the ministry is expected to review progress of the project every six months to keep track of NFCP’s development.

Last month, Gobind said the government has approved the development of the NFCP, which comes at RM21.6 billion and is expected to be implemented over a five-year period until 2023.

The NFCP will provide a nationwide robust digital connectivity with a high quality and affordable rate.

Among its prime targets includes providing an average speed of 30Mbps for 98% of the populated areas, and gigabit connection availability in selected industrial areas by 2020 and all state cities by 2023.