Dewan Negara passes Anti-Fake News Bill 2018

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — The Dewan Negara today passed the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 which represents a serious move by the government to check the dissemination of fake news brought on by the development of modern technology.

Dewan Negara president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran announced that the bill was passed by a majority voice vote after 17 senators spoke during the debate on it.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, who tabled the bill earlier today, said during the winding-up of the debate that the government’s move to introduce the law would not restrict freedom of speech as it was only aimed at checking the dissemination of fake news.

She said that despite the existence of several relevant laws, it had been difficult to effectively and swiftly control the dissemination of fake news until today due to the rapid and complex development of information technology.

“The laws often cited in this matter, such as the Penal Code, Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, had been enacted in the 1990s or earlier and are unable to address the complex nature of the offences in line with the advancement of current technology,” she said. Read more

Malaysia outlaws ‘fake news’; sets jail of up to six years

Source: Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia on Monday approved a law against “fake news” that would allow for prison of up to six years for offenders, shrugging off critics who say it was aimed at curbing dissent and free speech ahead of a general election.

A commuter walks past an advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news at a train station in downtown Kuala Lumpur March 26, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government secured a simple majority in parliament to pass the Anti-Fake News 2018 bill, which sets out fines of up to 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) and a maximum six years in jail. The first draft of the bill had proposed jail of up to 10 years. Read more

Not in the public interest — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

A CRYPTICALLY-TITLED Anti-Fake News law is about to be enacted shortly if passed by Parliament. The outcry against it stems from its overbroad scope.

First, it goes beyond “news”. Its coverage is extraordinarily overreaching. It covers everything spoken, written, drawn, audio and visual – and the catch-all: “in any other form”. It covers words and ideas, too. It extends to publications and reproductions; and anything in digital or electronic form and replications of these. Every information is roped in – regardless of its scientific, literary or artistic value. Nothing is left out. Read more

Kill or redraft fake news Bill with input from media, groups say

Source: The Malay Mail Online

A commuter walks past an advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news at a train station in downtown Kuala Lumpur March 26, 2018. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — Journalist groups urged the government today to withdraw or to redraft the Anti-Fake News Bill in consultation with media practitioners to preserve press freedom.

In a joint statement, WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Committee Malaysia (MFC Malaysia) and Institute of Journalists Malaysia alleged that there was no engagement between the government and representatives from the media industry ― as one of the most important stakeholders ― prior to drafting the Bill that was tabled in Parliament yesterday.

“Any legislation on fake news would inevitably affect the media industry, and it is our firm belief that we should be seen as the most important stakeholders as opposed to social media platforms and companies that the government had engaged with.

“The Bill tabled reflects this lack of engagement with media, as it overlooks the impact it could have on the media and does not provide any safeguards for the industry here,” they said in a statement.

They said the proposed legislation would not only restrict media freedom but put livelihoods of journalists and press staff at risk, in what is “already a tumultuous period for the media and news industry worldwide”. Read more

A bitter Bill to swallow — Philip Koh

Source: The Star Online

BY PHILIP TN KOH

“Serious questions arise as to whether this Bill is constitutional when read with Article 10 of our Federal Constitution which characterises free speech as a fundamental liberty subject to limited restrictions. Whether this Bill will pass the constitutional test will await judicial contestations. This Bill, while intended to rein in proliferation of fake news, will have a chilling effect on free speech and expression, which is the vital blood of deliberative democracy.” – Philip Koh

IN the wake of Facebook’s expression of regrets and the expose of the Cambridge Analytica, nations have moved swiftly to deal with what has been characterised as “fake news”.

Nation states have a legitimate right to defend their sovereignty by recourse to laws. However, there is growing evidence that governments or government sponsored agents have also used fake news to promote and defend its interests, as against the healthy exercise of political discourse and debates.

The Anti-Fake News Bill proposed by the Malaysia government raises many questions.

The definition of “fake news” reads, “includes any news, information, data and reports, which is or are wholly or partly false, whether in the form of features, visuals or audio recordings or in any form capable of suggesting words and ideas”. Read more

Is ‘fake news’ as serious a crime as kidnapping or waging war? Lawyers ask

Source: The Malay Mail Online

A billboard advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news is pictured along Jalan SS20/27, Damansara Jaya March 26, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 ― Putrajaya’s proposed new law appears to treat “fake news” like a serious crime such as kidnapping and waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, lawyers said.

Expressing alarm, civil rights lawyer New Sin Yew said one of the biggest problems with the proposed law was its “excessive punishment”, referring to the maximum fine of RM500,000 or maximum 10-year jail term or both for those found guilty of creating, publishing, distributing or circulating “fake news”.

He contrasted the severity of the proposed Anti-Fake News Act 2018’s punishment with the penalties for two existing serious offences, including Section 124I of the Penal Code that covers the crime of spreading false reports or making false statements likely to cause public alarm.

“Section 124I of the Penal Code which is considered as ‘offences against the state’ (such as terrorism, waging war against the YDPA, espionage) is only punishable with imprisonment not exceeding five years. The offence of kidnapping under Section 367 of the Penal Code is punishable with imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.

“By imposing such a severe punishment, is the government saying that publishing ‘fake news’ is as serious as kidnapping? Or more serious than an ‘offence against the state’?” he asked when contacted by Malay Mail yesterday, also saying that it was usual for the same punishment to be imposed on those who are convicted of abetting a crime. Read more

Anti-fake news bill to have chilling effect on GE14

Source: The Malaysian Insight

THE proposed anti-fake news law that was tabled in Dewan Rakyat yesterday will have a “chilling effect” on the 14th general election, said lawyer-cum-activist Ambiga Sreenevasan.

The former president of the Malaysian Bar said the media and the public will feel pressured about sharing information, adding that the law would have done its work to frighten Malaysians.

Ambiga said the anti-fake news law was being proposed to stop people from talking about the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal.

“There’s no other reason for the law. Many parts of the law are repeats of existing legislature other than the extra territorial portion.   Read more

Welcome to the Big Brother’s matrix — Jahabar Sadiq

Source: The Malaysian Insight

BY JAHABAR SADIQ

Ex-Malaysian Insider editor Jahabar Sadiq is behind the new venture, The Malaysian Insight. Pic taken from ST.

“You have to wonder the reasons for such a confident government to enact such a law. You have to wonder the reasons that only their narrative must be held up as the truth, and everything that is contradictory is fake.” – Jahabar Sadiq

EVERYONE will be affected by the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 when it finally gets approved.

What it does is simply this – it allows the authorities to shape and define what is fact and what is fiction.

It allows the authorities to determine the size of the football pitch, the width and height of the goalposts, as the case may be.

Heck, it can even keep redefining what nasi lemak is depending on the time of day.

In other words, you are living in the Big Brother’s matrix. They define your reality and unreality, no matter what is outside the territories and waters of Malaysia. Read more

Govt tables anti-fake news Bill for first reading

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — The government tabled its Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 for the first reading in Parliament today.

The proposed law seeks to penalise those who create, offer, circulate, print and publish fake news or publications containing fake news with a jail term of up to 10 years, a maximum fine of RM500,000, or both.

Those found guilty of persisting in spreading fake news will be further subject to a fine of RM100,000 if they fail to remove such publications and a maximum fine of RM3,000 for every day the “offence” continues to be committed.

According to the Bill, fake news is interpreted as any news, information, data and reports which is or are wholly or partly false whether in the form of features, visuals or audio recordings or in any other form capable of suggesting words or ideas.

Publication is interpreted as any written publication or similar in nature and every reproduction of such publications. Read more

What Putrajaya wants you to know about its anti-fake news law

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — The federal government today issued a seven-point frequently asked questions (FAQ) on its proposal for a new Anti-Fake News Act that will punish those who create or publish “fake news” about Malaysia or Malaysians.

Image taken from The Star Online.

Why this law?

In the FAQ, Putrajaya justified the need for this new law, asserting that existing Malaysian laws are incapable of effectively controlling the problem of “fake news”.

“Furthermore, the laws that are frequently cited in this matter such as the Penal Code, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 that were drafted on or before the 1990s cannot deal with the type of complex offences in line with the latest technological developments,” said the FAQ issued by the de facto law minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman’s office.

It also said this proposed law will feature new elements such as “extra-territorial application”, which treats anyone of any nationality who had committed a fake news-related offence abroad as having committed it in Malaysia. Read more