Use Digital Resilience Initiative to prevent, counter violent extremism in digital realm - Zambry

13 Jun 2023 12:46pm
Zambry. Photo by Mohd Halim Abdul Wahid/SINAR FILE PIX
Zambry. Photo by Mohd Halim Abdul Wahid/SINAR FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir on Tuesday mooted an idea of Digital Resilience Initiative (DRI) framework, rooted in the values of Malaysia Madani to prevent and counter violent extremism in the digital realm.

He noted that this idea represented a call for action to foster an online community that is not only safe but also respectful, trustworthy, compassionate and promotes peaceful co-existence, tolerance and healthy multi-religious and multicultural engagements.

Zambry underlined four key strategic areas under DRI -- awareness and knowledge; support and empowerment; regulation and accountability; and cooperation and collaboration.

"I believe these four key pillars will enable us to not only in fortifying our digital spaces against potential threat, but also in proactively promoting the values of peace, harmony and mutual understanding,” he said at the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT) International Conference (S.I.C. 2023) here.

His keynote address was read by his deputy Datuk Mohamad Alamin.

Under the awareness and knowledge pillar, Zambry said DRI involved efforts to promote digital literacy as a core competency including through the education system.

He said the objective was to cultivate citizens who were discerning information consumers, to be able to distinguish between credible sources and manipulative materials.

"It should focus on the promotion of moral values that call for peaceful co-existence, mutual understanding, respect and compassion, while encouraging inquisitiveness and analytical minds among citizens so that they can separate fact from fiction,” he said.

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Meanwhile, the pillar of support and empowerment focused on building the competencies of and empowering credible voices or messengers within the communities to provide powerful, authentic alternatives to violent extremist narratives.

"It also involves measures to assist those who have been impacted or targeted by violent extremists' narrative by providing resources for rehabilitation and reintegration. This could guide them away from the path of extremism towards embracing inclusivity, tolerance and unity,” he added.

As the world navigated the technologically advanced age, it is imperative to prevent the potential misuse of tools like generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), he said, adding that it required regulatory reform with input and feedback gathered from various relevant stakeholders.

Zambry said under the pillar of regulation and accountability, there must be clear guidelines that encouraged the responsible and ethical use of such technologies.

"At the same time, we must also establish accountability mechanisms for those who maliciously violate these guidelines. Any individuals or organisations who abuse these technologies will be held accountable and serve as a deterrent to others that such actions will no longer be tolerated,” he said.

On the other hand, the pillar of cooperation and collaboration sought to improve the sharing of knowledge, information, and best practices among all relevant stakeholders, which could be achieved through the creation of platforms such as a global network of practitioners that could facilitate such endeavours.

"We should look beyond a Whole-of-Government approach, but also a Whole-of-Society approach in which the various layers and segments of society take ownership of problems and challenges that cuts across nations and regions,” he said.

Themed "Building Digital Resilience in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism,” the three-day conference was held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of SEARCCT.

It was aimed at discussing the challenges and issues related to violent extremism, particularly in the digital space, as well as ways to better respond these challenges in the context of building society’s digital resilience through exchange of ideas, experiences and best practices. - BERNAMA