A Danish citizen in Malaysia has pleaded guilty to maliciously publishing fake news by releasing a police-critical YouTube video that was the first to penalize him under the new, controversial Anti-Fake News Act.
Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman, 46, is a citizen of Denmark. He posted on YouTube on April 21 after a Palestinian lecturer was shot dead in Kuala Lumpur.
In the video, Sulaiman claimed to have been with the Palestinian victim during the shootout and made countless phone calls to the police 50 minutes later, "Malaysia's The Star reports.
But the police says their records show a patrol car was in place eight minutes after shooting, according to Reuters, saying Sulaiman was accused of maliciously publishing false news.
Sulaiman, who had no lawyer, pleaded guilty He will face a fine of just over $ 2,500, but because he could not pay the fine, he will spend a month in prison, Reuters says.
"[He] said he was a visitor who had only been here 10 days is aware that Malaysia had such a law, "reports the newspaper Star ." However, he admitted that it was a mistake and apologized for all injuries, which may have caused the video. "
Malaysia's Anti-Fake News Act, which was passed earlier this month and quickly came into force, has been widely criticized for the possibility of censorship
The Southeast Asian press alliance, which preceded the passing of the Law wrote that it was "another weapon for the Malaysian government to control the press," which noted the risk of criminal consequences for reporters who made mistakes, as well as the possibility of using the law, to critical opinions of satirists or opinion writers to suppress.
But not only journalists are affected – as Sulaiman's case illustrates.
As the CNET states, it makes the law illegal share fake news, as well as to make it manageable for law enforcement for a retweet-prone to prosecution. It also applies to people outside of Malaysia when creating or sharing news about a Malaysian person.
And what is considered "false news"?
The definition "is very broad," said international law firm Baker McKenzie. "In the absence of a judicial interpretation, the practical scope of the provisions of the law is still to be seen."
YouTube videos qualify, as the first case shows, but it is not yet known what else could be included.