By Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities
KUALA LUMPUR — JomCheck, a collaborative fact-checking alliance between members of the academia, media and civil society is geared up to conduct fact checks on dubious information in the lead up to the upcoming State Elections.
The coalition which was launched during Malaysia’s 15th General Elections (GE15) has successfully verified information based on tip off sent by members of the public to their tip line, via WhatsApp application.
JomCheck chief secretariat, Assoc Prof Dr Sabariah Mohamed Salleh said that they received more than 120 tips from the public during GE 15 encompassing issues related to economy, safety and security, politics, public information, religious sentiment and racial sentiment.
“There is a very high potential that these issues will also be manifested during the state elections as candidates and their followers tend to publish a lot of self-promotion materials, share their respective manifestos and throw criticisms towards their political opponents, as part of their campaign strategies.
“How do we determine what is shared is accurate? This is where JomCheck wants to play a pivotal role. Together, our partners in media, academia and civil societies aim to efficiently combat the spread of false information through our fact checking effort,” she said.
Sabariah added that due to the ease of access to information, the situation on social media is extremely worrying, particularly given the current trend of fabricating facts and spreading false information.
“Platforms like Tiktok, Instagram, and Twitter make it simple for us to find information and create content, but this convenience also shows how quickly false information can spread.
“If false information is spread, the public will be misinformed and receive inaccurate information, potentially influencing decisions,” she explained.
Therefore, she said, it is critical to have social media literacy as well as the ability to check facts in order to distinguish between true and false information.
“However, there is a lot of information out there that we are unable to verify because it is presented as accusations, opinions, or propaganda. This is where JomCheck comes in, where you can ask the tip line for clarification on a specific piece of information,” she added.