KUALA LUMPUR: The Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 has received the Royal assent and has been gazetted, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister said the new law would not curtail the freedom of journalists.
“I know that some journalists are worried that this new Act will be used to restrict their freedom in reporting,” he said at the inaugural National Journalists’ Day (Hari Wartawan Nasional or Hawana) celebration here Wednesday.
“But I would like to say that this is not the right view as the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, through Section 8A, has already made it an offence to publish any fake news,” he added.However, current legislation has not been effective and comprehensive enough to curb and control the spread of fake news due to the rapid development in technology.
The Anti-Fake News Act 2018 has already been uploaded to the Federal Gazette website, where it states the law received the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s assent on April 9.
The new law, which was passed in Parliament on April 2, comes into effect today (April 11).
Meanwhile, Najib said that May 29 will now be recognised as National Journalists’ Day.
The date was chosen in line with the publication of the country’s first newspaper, Utusan Melayu, in 1939.
Media personnel, said Najib, are essentially the unsung heroes of the nation.
“As such, to acknowledge the role of journalists who have helped shape the minds of the public, the Government has accepted the suggestion that Hawana be celebrated on May 29 annually.
Also present at the inaugural Hawana celebration, themed “Championing the People, Building the Nation”, were Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, Star Media Group group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, Star Media Group editor-in-chief Datuk Leanne Goh, and other media practitioners.