10/06/2024 09:04 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 (Bernama) -- The government will conduct a nationwide study and focus group discussions on online safety as well as to organise Malaysia Online Safety Legal Conference, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

In a Facebook post today, she said the government plans to develop a comprehensive legal policy direction to address this complex subject in the near future. 

“Governments across the globe are grappling with the challenge of striking the right balance between encouraging digitalization, acknowledging the significant strides it has made in our daily lives and its flip side – the online harms particularly the emergence and rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

“While we acknowledge the importance of technological advancement, the MADANI government is serious in its commitment to ensuring a safe and secure digital space environments for all Malaysians,” she said. 

According to the FAQ on Online Safety posted on the minister's social media account, some countries have done their part in protecting its people against online harms such as Australia which has enacted the Online Safety Act 2021 and its eSafety Commissioner is leading a Safety by Design initiative.

It said Singapore has enacted the Online Criminal Harms Act 2023, amended its Broadcasting Act 1994 and its Info-Communications Media Development Authority issued a Code of Practice for Online Safety while the UK Parliament approved the Online Safety Bill on 2023 and the Information Commissioner's Office published an Age-Appropriate Design Code of Practice for Online Services.

According to the FAQ, the study and focus group discussion will be conducted to obtain input from civil society organisations, industry players and the public on the online safety.

The conference will be organised to bring stakeholders together to promote a safer online experience for everyone, sharing knowledge and best practices, fostering collaboration and advocating for better policies and technologies, according to the FAQ.

The FAQ stated that strong, new laws are needed in today's fast-changing world to address the dangers encountered online such as harmful behaviour and content, in order to keep everyone safe as the sheer volume of content generated on online platforms makes effective self-regulation challenging.

It said self-regulation by online platforms, while a well-intentioned approach, has proven insufficient in effectively addressing online harms.

“Without standardised regulations, each platform sets its own content moderation policies and enforcement mechanism, leading to inconsistency in how harmful content is addressed.

“What one platform may consider harmful, another may deem acceptable, creating confusion for users and allowing harmful content to proliferate,” it said. 

It also said regulating online safety aims to enhance user safety by among others, to hold online platforms accountable for the content they host and ensuring they take measure to protect users from harmful content such as child sexual abuse materials, hate speech, cyberbullying, scam and illegal materials.

"This means that users can expect a safer online environment with stricter content moderation, improved reporting mechanisms and greater transparency from platforms regarding their efforts to keep users safe,” it said. 


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