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Malaysia's fake news bill sees changes in second reading in parliament, SE Asia News & Top Stories

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia's proposed law against fake news will see two changes – the definition of a crime and the maximum term of imprisonment – MEPs were notified at the second reading of the bill in parliament on Thursday (March 29).

False news is bad news … Stories that were invented or altered and disseminated without deliberately looking at the impact on people will hurt the country, "said de facto Justice Minister Azalina Othman Said in her speech on Thursday.

Datuk Seri Azalina told lawmakers that the maximum sentence for a crime under the proposed law would be reduced from ten to six years, and she said the change would make it a crime for someone to "maliciously" counterfeit To create messages rather than "knowingly" creating false news, as stated in the original draft of the law.

These changes, in response to criticism from interested parties, including media, lawyers, non-governmental organizations, and legal groups

However, the proposed maximum of RM500,000 (S $ 1

70,000) will be retained. [19659002] Ms. Azalina said Malaysia not only sought a law to stem counterfeit news, but also named a number of jurisdictions that considered similar moves.

"In Singapore, a Committee on Intentional Untruths: Causes, Consequences and Countermeasures was established to address the problem of counterfeit messages, types of perpetrators and their motives in disseminating false news and its effects, including the possibility of She introduced a new law to curb false news, adding that Germany had passed on its anti-fake news. Law [19659002] The law was first read by Ms. Azalina on Monday, saying that the bill "should protect people." […] The debate will resume next Monday (April 2)

The law comes as the country prepares for a general election, which is expected within weeks that will lead to opposition demands that the new Ge used to dampen dissent.

The new law may easily be passed as it only requires a simple majority of the 222-member House, and the Barisan Nasional Coalition has 131 MPs

The bill defines fake news as "any news, information, data and reports that are in whole or in part or are false, whether in the form of features, images or sound recordings, or in any other form that suggests words or ideas. "

Legislation allows action against those who fines such content with up to reproduce or replicate to 500 RM. 000 (S $ 168,000) or imprisonment for up to six years, or both.

Those releasing "Fake News" are expected to remove such content or face fines of up to RM100,000, which may grow by up to RM3,000 for each day the content stays high To be sentenced.

Even those who sponsor the propagandists of "Fake News" are liable for punishment.

Critics are in a hurry to enforce legislation and their hard punishments.

The fine is equivalent to a 10-fold fine imposed by other Malaysian malpractice laws.

The law also allows legal action against perpetrators outside of Malaysia.

Malaysia's National Human Rights Commission, in its statement on Thursday, said it could not endorse the draft because of its far-reaching implications, since the law in its current form could be used for government control over the media.

Its chairman, Razali Ismail, said: "The implications of the bill can be enormous and c inspire an authoritarian form of government." The government's track record in applying laws for reasons other than its intended purpose is debatable. "

On Tuesday, the Malaysian Bar Association said drafting the proposed legislation raises "many questions about content, intent and implications". [19659002] Media Groups Wan-Ifra Media Freedom Committee Malaysia and the Journal of Institutes Malaysia have also called for the bill to be withdrawn or redrafted, saying it could suffocate the media industry.

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