Published: Wed, March 28, 2018
Sci-tech | By Bennie Mills

Malaysia Proposes Law That Makes Spreading Fake News Illegal

Malaysia Proposes Law That Makes Spreading Fake News Illegal

The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) has expressed strong reservations on the recently tabled Anti-Fake News Bill 2018, suggesting that while the government's stated intention is to safeguard the public against the spread of fake news, it may lead to stifling of freedom of the press, speech and expression.

Punishments for those breaking the laws include a 10-year jail sentence and large fines.

As opposition member Ong Kian Ming tweeted Monday, "This is an attack on the press and an attempt to instill fear among the rakyat before GE14".

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The administration said the plan is to reduce the trade deficit by roughly a third, a decrease of $100 billion this year. The White House announced last week the nations would be excluded until May 1.

The officials also warned that any news about the Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, state fund that is not approved by the government is false.

"I invited opposition MPs because I wanted to hear their views from a legal standpoint (on the Bill), but instead, they politicised it, claiming that the government was implementing this law as it the election is closing in".

Transactions related to 1MDB are under investigation in six countries including the United States, where the Department of Justice has launched civil cases to recover assets linked to the fund after investigations under an anti-kleptocracy initiative. The move could be the largest US asset seizure. Najib and the fund deny any wrongdoing.

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Germany's Enabling Act of 1933, which essentially sowed the seeds for National Socialism to flourish; America's Patriot Act provisions that allowed for overreaching government mass surveillance on the general public; and finally Malaysia's own Internal Securities Act, put in place to ensure cohesive race relations after the 1969 riots, but used by then-Prime Minister Mahathir in the late '80s to imprison political rivals. In 2013, it lost the popular vote for the first time to the opposition.

Eric Paulsen, co-founder of Malaysian human rights group Lawyers for Liberty, told the BBC: "The bill is 100% meant to muffle dissent. the punishment is extremely high and what amounts to fake news has been loosely defined".

"What more, these laws, such as the Penal Code, Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, and Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, were drafted during or before the 1990s, and could not address the nature of increasingly complex offences in line with rapid technological progress". All of these laws have been used to violate freedom of expression and damage media freedom, critics add. Mario Ritter was the editor. If you follow developments in the U.S., you've probably come across Trump use the phrase on multiple occasions to address any story that he doesn't agree with.

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Round Rock ISD said classes would run as scheduled but added that they would accept late arrivals due to traffic. Jeff Reeb said he has lived next to Conditt's parents for about 17 years and described them as good neighbors.

Opposition lawmakers have questioned the need for such a law, arguing that the government already had broad powers over free speech and the media. What do you think might have been the impact of that on Cadbury's sales? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

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