HELP University’s Faculty of Law and Government recently hosted the Legal Forum 4U & Me with the Legal Affairs Division of the Prime Minister’s Office at the HELP Subang 2 campus on November 23, 2016. The event was officiated by Yang Berhormat Dato’ Razali bin Ibrahim, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and Datuk Dr Paul Chan, Vice-Chancellor and President of HELP University.
The theme was ‘Social Media and the Community’ and the purpose of this forum was to raise awareness among the younger generation on the development and impact of social media on society as well as the laws and policies that govern the use of social media. It also sought to provide a platform for those from the younger generation to discuss the way forward to a progressive society in respect of the need and necessity to regulate social media.
“Taking into consideration rapid technological advancement, the law must remain relevant, robust and reflective of the wants of the people. Only when this happens does the law become dynamic. To achieve this, reforms require strong participation from the general public, including and especially from the younger generation,” said Dato’ Razali in his keynote speech.
“The ease of access and speed of information exchange has without doubt made social media an agent of social solidarity. What may at first seem like hype or a fun factor for the young generation to socialise and seek entertainment has marked the mobilisation of Malaysian civil society. It is within this sphere that we now see a lot of discussion and issues relating to freedom of speech,” he further added.
Likewise, Professor Datuk Dr Paul Chan echoed the sentiments of Dato’ Razali and urged students to focus their attention in this area of study in their honours or Master’s research. “I see a lot of ramifications and good outcomes resulting from such a legal forum. As we know, life has never been the same ever since we had the Internet of Things and every day, we are challenged by things that we do not understand, partly because of our ignorance and negligence. Some individuals end up using and abusing the social media for political and unethical reasons.”
In line with the theme, Dr Jaspal Kaur Sadhu Singh, Senior Lecturer of HELP University delivered the first talk of the day ‘The Legal Basin of Media Rights (and Responsibilities) for the Fifth Estate: A Consideration of Established and New Principles’. In her talk, she spoke about the development of freedom of speech and its implementation and limitations within the Malaysian context as well as the need to fill up the legal basin concerning citizen journalists.
“There needs to be a stronger development of the freedom of speech in the context of the realities of an increasingly well-informed citizenry. In a media model that is increasingly decentralised as a result of social media actors on the Internet playing the role of alternative news providers and conduits for democratic discourse, the government, Parliament and the courts need to reengage with the social and political importance of the role discharged by the media both traditional, and on the Internet.”
Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin, Chief Officer Network Security and Enforcement Sector of Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) also shared his views and advice in his talk ‘Revisiting Freedom of Speech in the Social Media Era’. In his speech, he spoke about digital surveillance, as well as the best Internet regulatory mechanism, namely, the need for self-regulation among netizens.
“This legal forum and its theme gives the younger generation and future leaders of this country an opportunity to share their thoughts and views relating to social media. Social media has become a way of life for us now, and we want the users to appreciate some of the dangers of social media and be responsible for what they say or post on these platforms,” said Vasantha Punniamoorthy, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Government at HELP University.
This year’s forum was in its fifth incarnation and HELP University was the first and only private university to have the privilege of hosting the event. The legal forum was attended by over 200 participants comprising law lecturers and students from HELP University as well as representatives from government departments and agencies. Some of the activities of the legal forum included seminars, Q&A sessions, law workshops and plenary sessions where students were able to discuss and present their views.