Malaysian PM: Anti-Fake News Law Will Be Repealed

by Admin on April 9, 2019

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Despite Singapore’s push to adopt its own law to quell fake news, Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has vowed to repeal his country’s anti-fake news law.

Dr. Mahathir was meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong when asked about his thoughts on fake news laws.

He stated that while fake news can be damaging to society, dealing with it by giving the government the power to determine what is true and false is a dangerous precedent.

“When you have a law to prevent people from airing views, then we are afraid that the government itself may abuse it, as has happened in the past,” Dr. Mahathir answered when asked about Singapore’s proposed Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill (Pofma). “We do not want any government, whether this or the next one, to abuse such law.”

Dr. Mahathir came to power for his second stint as the country’s prime minister last year. One of his promises was to repeal Malaysia’s Anti-Fake News Act, passed in 2018.

The move is surprising considering many countries in Southeast Asia are currently considering laws to curb the spread of misinformation online or already have laws on the books to deal with it.

For example, under Thailand laws, a prime minister hopeful was charged with spreading false information about the government during a Facebook Live video under the country’s Computer Crimes Act.

According to Thailand attorney Jitsopin Narasettapong, the Computer Crimes Act is used in a similar way to Thailand defamation law. Both laws are criminal offenses in Thailand.

Read the full story here.

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