The Malaysian government has tabled a bill in Parliament that will effectively ban Southend News Network and every other website that broadcasts ‘fake news.’
This isn’t a joke. Unfortunately.
According to a report on Reuters, their Prime Minister is trying to get a law passed that proposes 10-year jail terms and large fines for anyone who publishes content that isn’t 100% truthful.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government tabled a bill in parliament on Monday outlawing “fake news”, with hefty fines and up to 10 years in jail, raising more concern about media freedom in the wake of a multi-billion dollar graft scandal.
The bill was tabled ahead of a general election that is expected to be called within weeks and as Najib faces widespread criticism over the scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Under the Anti-Fake News 2018 bill, anyone who publishes so-called fake news could face fines of up to 500,000 ringgit ($128,140), up to 10 years in jail, or both.
“The proposed Act seeks to safeguard the public against the proliferation of fake news whilst ensuring the right to freedom of speech and expression under the Federal Constitution is respected,” the government said in the bill.
The government defined fake news as “news, information, data and reports which is or are wholly or partly false” and included features, visuals and audio recordings.
Now, here’s the clincher:
The law, which covers digital publications and social media, would apply to offenders outside Malaysia, including foreigners, if Malaysia or a Malaysian citizen were affected.
Better take Kuala Lumpur off my Expedia wish list then.
Do I even need to explain why this is a terrible idea?
All it will take is for Kenny from Kuching to call the police and say that he has the hump about a British bakery removing the hot crosses from their buns and before we know it, I will be sewing mail sacks in Johor Bahru nick.
Amnesty International have already called it a giant pile of bollocks – just think how many more countries will try and pull the same stunt if it becomes law.
God forbid it should happen in the United Kingdom. The S*n and The Daily Mail would disappear overnight.