PETALING JAYA: A consumer rights group said a Facebook administrator can be charged under the Penal Code and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 over a post that allegedly led to the suicide of a 20-year-old woman.
The Malaysia Cyber Consumer Association (MCCA) said “Joker Oruvan” could be charged under Section 306 of the Penal Code for allegedly abetting the suicide of Thivyaanayagi Rajendran.
“Action can be taken against the admin if the person is linked to the death of the woman,” MCCA legal adviser R Vikraman told FMT.
On Thursday, Thivyaanayagi was reported to have hanged herself after she was attacked on social media for “dating” a Bangladeshi colleague who worked with her as a cashier at a 7-Eleven store in Penang.
According to her family, this dating assumption came from a video which showed her with a foreign worker trying to act out a scene from a Hindi song. The video was filmed while both of them appeared to be sitting behind the cashier counter.
The video posted by her colleague was later reposted by a Facebook user named “Joker Oruvan” with a caption reading, in romanised Tamil: “How did this girl fall in love with a Bangla … everyone would surely bless you.”
Thivyaanayagi’s uncle, K Sathyaseelan, said they sent a message to the administrator of the page asking them to take down the video, but were instead told to record a video offering an apology if she wanted it removed.
The post has since been taken down.
Vikraman said the admin had the obligation to check if the post they were sharing was authentic.
“The burden is on the admin of the page to ensure he is not publishing or sharing any post which they are uncertain of,” he said.
He said the administrator could be charged under Section 233 of the Communications And Multimedia Act 1998 for sharing “offensive and menacing content” if they had acted irresponsibly.
Meanwhile, child rights activist James Nayagam said the cases of cyber bullying reported were only the tip of the iceberg, adding that they were getting worse.
Nayagam said if the law dictated that one should face justice for spreading fake news, the same should apply to those sharing content that led to suicides.
“Fake news can damage reputations which, to a certain extent, can be repaired. A loss of life is irreversible. Hence the admin must be accountable for what he or she posts on social media,” he said.
He said while changing a cyberbully’s mindset would be difficult, it was easier to take action against those who encouraged such behaviour.
“We need to send a strong message on taking responsibility for what they post,” he said.
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