Malaysia’s first Anti-Fake News Act has come into force after it was gazette on Wednesday, according to the News Straits Time Online report on Wednesday(Apr 11).
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Rasak said that the parliament’s passing of the law showed that the government was serious about combatting the problem of fake news amid the development of modern technology which enables speedly communications.
He explained that the new law was meant to complement existing laws like the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 to cope with the modern concept that anyone could become an online journalist and this had become a trend with the advancement of information technology and the internet.
The prime minister said that this posed a danger to the society as such reporters do not any formal training and could just write and spread news based on perception and personal understanding without seeking verification.
He insisted that the Act was of public interest as it would protect people from the dissemination of fake news as he brushed aside fears that the Act would be used to restrict freedom in news reporting.
According to the law, those who maliciously create, publish or distribute fake news will be liable to RM500,000 fine and/or six years’ jailterm.