Anti-fake news bill reduces proposed jail time to 6 years

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman says the word ‘knowingly’ will also be changed to ‘maliciously’.

KUALA LUMPUR: The maximum jail time proposed under the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 has been amended from 10 to six years.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman said the government would also change the word “knowingly” to “maliciously” in Clause 4 of the bill.

The word “knowingly” was among the contentious points brought up during meetings between the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and opposition MPs and journalists.

It was pointed out that the word “knowingly” was vague and could be interpreted in many ways and was hard to define.

“This shows that the government, under the leadership of the prime minister, is very attentive and ready to receive all views and suggestions to make the bill inclusive and comprehensive,” said Azalina in the Dewan Rakyat here today.

The maximum fine for offenders remains at RM500,000.

The bill was tabled in Parliament on Monday.

Under the proposed law, it will be an offence to create, offer, publish, distribute, circulate or disseminate fake news.

It is also an offence to directly or indirectly provide financial assistance to facilitate the spread of fake news or to abet the offence.

The bill describes fake news as any news, information, data or report, which is wholly or partly false, whether in the form of features, visuals, audio recordings or any other form, capable of suggesting words or ideas.


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