Selangor Journal
Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil (centre) speaks during the 16th Conference of Asean Ministers Responsible for Information (Amri) plenary session, at Furama Resort Danang in Da Nang, Vietnam, on September 22, 2023. — Picture by BERNAMA

Almost two bln suspicious calls, 581 mln SMS’ successfully blocked — Minister

DA NANG, Sept 22 — Almost two billion suspicious calls and 581 million suspicious short messaging services (SMS) were successfully blocked from reaching Malaysian consumers with the assistance of telco service providers, to tackle the issue of online scams.

Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said from 2020 to April 2023, the ministry also received 8,499 public complaints related to fraudulent activities and, within the same period, successfully blocked 3,370 phishing sites.

“Malaysia is managing misinformation, especially from the new media by focusing on 2P’s — prevention and protection.

“We are heavily invested in educating and empowering the public with online knowledge and tools to protect themselves,” he said in his remarks at the 16th Conference of Asean Ministers Responsible for Information (Amri) plenary session held after the opening ceremony earlier today.

Fahmi is leading the Malaysian delegation to the 16th Amri at Furama Resort Danang, which officially commences today.

Meanwhile, to tackle the issue of misinformation, disinformation and fake news, he said Malaysia has set up a task force consisting of various agencies, including the Royal Malaysia Police, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), and the Attorney-General Chambers to establish inter-agency coordination to manage unverified news on new media.

This is in response to Amri’s Working Group on Information, Media and Training, which has established the Task Force on Fake News (TFFN) to look specifically at the role of Media and Information, to share best practices and even come up with shared initiatives in the Asean region on combating fake news.

“Malaysia also has set up and MyCheck Malaysia, which are fact-checking websites that enable the Malaysian public to cross reference information and report false information. has an average hits of 4.8 million a month and is the most effective fact-checking website in Malaysia,” Fahmi said.

The minister added it is critical to ensure the information disseminated to the masses is reliable and correct, as this can spell disaster to individuals, communities and nations, especially in the case of new media, which has witnessed rapid advancement.

Commenting on the 16th AMRI theme, Media: From Information To Knowledge For A Resilient And Responsive Asean, he said it is very apt as media has evolved from what is known as print which delivers news the very next day to what we have now, which gives us news the very next millisecond.

“To be resilient and responsive, knowledge is definitely the key, and the media plays an effective role in converting information to knowledge,” Fahmi said when sharing Malaysia’s journey and vision with regard to the theme, in line with the Asean Communications Master Plan II 2018 – 2025 (ACMP II).

He noted during the last Asean Digital Minister’s Meeting (ADGMIN 3) in the Philippines, the ministers discussed the possibility of setting up a working group to look into misinformation, disinformation and fake news, which was proposed by Thailand and was unanimously accepted by the meeting.

Malaysia actively contributes to creating awareness of Asean among its people, especially among school children and young adults.

Fahmi said the Department of Information (JaPen) has successfully implemented a range of Asean related initiatives, including The Asean Mural Drawing Competition, Right Information Saves and Empowers (Rise Asean), Asean Quiz Competition and Asean @ Socmed.

Also a part of the delegation are Communications and Digital Ministry secretary-general Datuk Mohamad Fauzi Md Isa, Department of Information (Japen) Media and Corporate Communication director Datuk E. Sivabalan, Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) Deputy Editor-in-Chief (News Service) Nur-ul Afida Kamaludin as well as other high-ranking officials from KKD and its agencies.

Earlier, Vietnam Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan, in her opening speech, highlighted the importance of promoting timely and accurate information based on digital capabilities, turning information into knowledge to support businesses and people’s livelihoods.

“Minimising the impact of negative information is now an urgent need at national, regional and international levels, including Asean,” she said.

Xuan said AMRI is an essential forum for Asean member states and dialogue countries to exchange to identify priorities and directions for cooperation in future and to jointly achieve the United Nations Millenium Development Goals as well as the priorities of the Asean Community.

— Bernama

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