KKMM warns against spread of suicide photos, videos

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by BERNAMA

THE Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia (KKMM) said it takes the issue of disseminating suicide photos and videos seriously because it invites the act of “copycat suicide” for those who are at the risk of doing so.

Its Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (picture) said his ministry in collaboration with the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) will always monitor if there is a propagation of such activities, especially on social media platforms.

“We take a serious view of those who are spreading such videos or photos of suicide, because it causes concern if there is an act of imitating the action which is also known as ‘copycat suicide’.

“If we find that there are such activities, KKMM will inform the police about the matter and we request that the uploaded photos or videos be taken down immediately,” he said in a press conference after chairing a virtual Mental Health Support Communication Plan Coordination Meeting yesterday.

However, when asked about the action that can be taken against individuals who are found to have uploaded such videos or photos, Saifuddin said the matter is under the responsibility of PDRM.

The minister also added that his party does not have the information on how many individuals have been prosecuted so far, but KKMM would hold further discussions with PDRM to curb this issue.

“But I know, the police will investigate and there are charges. This is a standard operation that will be held, there are reports about it, the police will investigate and the case will be taken to the Attorney General’s Chambers for prosecution,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek said his party has outlined several approaches before identifying suicide photos or videos.

“This includes, if the content is uploaded on social media platforms such as Facebook, it will inform the website operator about the matter.

“For example, Facebook. The operator is not in Malaysia and we have to make a report first on the content uploaded, so that the action to take down the photos or videos is done by the operator,” he added.

Nevertheless, Fadhlullah said if the content is displayed on the URL detected in Malaysia, MCMC will take down the photos or videos based on the unauthorised content code, before they report it to the Ministry of Health (MoH) for a technical response.

Commenting further on the Mental Health Support Communication Plan, Saifuddin said his ministry has organised a mental health programme in the form of 44 episodes of interview sessions which airs daily at 9am on the talk show “Selamat Pagi Malaysia” broadcasted by RTM since June 1.

He noted that the programme was an initiative by KKMM in collaboration with the MoH, Ministry of Women Development, Family and Society (KPWKM), Malaysian Board of Counsellors and other parties, such as institutions of higher learning and NGOs.

The programme lined up speakers from a variety of backgrounds and expertise sharing important tips on how to manage mental health, psychological stress, anxiety, facing job loss and unemployment, communication and social problems faced by children and adults, as well as stress in the workplace due to the current critical situation.

“Of late, more and more Malaysians regardless of their group are facing mental health problems and being depressed as a result of the impact of the pandemic that seems endless.

“We are aware that many are facing issues in terms of the Covid-19 and the Movement Control Order, depression and social isolation, psychological stress, unemployment, domestic violence and challenges in the home-based teaching and learning, or PdPR, system,” he said.

In this regard, Saifuddin also called on the public to participate in discussions in these interview broadcasts.

Those who need help or support services are urged to immediately call the MoH’s Covid-19 psychosocial support line at 011-63996482 or 011-63994236; Talian Kasih by KPWKM through WhatsApp at 019-2615999; Befrienders line at 03-76272929, or psychology and counselling concern line by the Malaysian Relief Agency at 03-29359642 or 03-29359672.