Mainstream media practitioners should stop their hypocrisy belly-aching about “fake news” on social media when they are themselves the worst purveyor of false news

Mainstream media practitioners should stop their hypocrisy belly-aching about “fake news” on social media when themselves are the worst purveyor of false news.

Two days ago, one mainstream media admitted purveying “fake news” about Ketua Umum PKR Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in its articles in 2013 alleging that Anwar was a dishonest politician involved in money-laundering activities, including giving RM50 million to the late Karpal Singh to fix judges.

This same mainstream media was recently purveying the “fake news that I had met Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on Dec. 3 last year and “sealed a deal” that Mukhriz Mahathir would become prime minister and I would become Deputy Prime Minister.

Despite my denial, this mainstream media continued to carry reports on this “fake news”.

Yet this mainstream media had the temerity to conduct a campaign against “false news” in the social media, with an major article entitled “DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN REAL AND FAKE NEWS” on New Year’s Day and another entitled “Non-truths must be treated with contempt” today.

What moral high ground do these mainstream media practitioners possess when they are equally guilty of creating or purveying “fake news” in the mainstream media?

It is indeed most ironic that it was the Prime Minister, Datuk Sri Najib Razak himself who kicked off the new year warning about “fake news” and “false stories” but UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders, propagandists and cybertroopers including the country’s mainstream media are the worst culprits in concocting and disseminating fake news and false stories about critics and the Opposition.

If there are laws criminalising “hate speeches” in Malaysia, Najib’s speech as UMNO President at the UMNO General Assembly on Nov. 30 will be an important test case.

Yesterday, there was a report that police are still investigating claims that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s son (my grandson) had sexually assaulted a schoolmate, almost six years since the allegations circulated on pro-Umno blogs.

Six years have passed, and my grandson has gone from secondary school to university, and yet no action had been taken by the police,

Police had received six complaints alleging that the then 16-year-old boy had committed the crime, and that money was paid to ensure the matter was not circulated online – when in fact the allegations were pack of lies.

Did the police take any action against the UMNO cybertroopers for lodging false police reports or concocting and circulating fake news?

Would the police fail to take action for six long years if such false, malicious and despicable lies had been told about Najib’s children?

Will Najib direct UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders, propagandists and cybertroopers to stop concocting and purveying “fake news” about Opposition leaders and government critics, so that they have the moral high ground to rail against “fake news” on the social media?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah