Written by Nathasha De Alwis
26 Mar, 2018 | 4:43 pm
A new legislation was proposed by Malaysia’s government to combat fake news, with offenders facing up to 10 years in prison.
Under the Anti-Fake News Bill, those convicted of disseminating false content would be jailed or fined up to 128,000 US Dollars, or both.
The bill was tabled in parliament today (March 26), ahead of a national election that is expected within weeks.
Critics have called the bill an attempt by the authorities to stifle dissent.
According to the bill, the term “fake news” is defined as “news, information, data, and reports which is or are wholly or partly false”.
An offender would be anyone who “by any means, knowingly creates, offers, publishes, prints, distributes, circulates or disseminates any fake news or publication containing fake news”.
Blogs, public forums, and social media accounts are also covered under the bill.
It applies to anyone inside or outside Malaysia, as long as the “fake news” published concerns the country or those in it, which means foreigners can technically be sentenced in the absence.
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