tuesday, 27 march of 2018

Amnesty condemns Malaysia ´fake news´ bill

The Malaysian Parliament proposed abill Monday meant to combat "fake news," drawing sharpcriticism from rights groups such as Amnesty International.

 The Anti-Fake News Act 2018 defines fake news as "anynews, information, data and reports, which is or are wholly or partlyfalse." A person who creates, publishes, facilitates or does not removefake news could be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

Amnesty says that the definition of fake news is vague andoverly broad. The organization condemns the bill for its potential to be usedto silence dissent and says it should be "scrapped immediately.

James Gomez, Amnesty's Director for Southeast Asia and thePacific, said "It is deeply disturbing that the Malaysian authorities areusing the catch-all term 'fake news' as an excuse to crack down on critics. TheBill combines the worst of the cheap propaganda coming from the West and therepressive laws and policies in the East."

Freedom of speech on the Internet has been a subject of muchlegislation and litigation internationally. Last month Human Rights Watchcondemned a German law requiring social media platforms toimmediately remove illegal content. In June the US Supreme Court ruled thatNorth Carolina's social media restrictions for sex offenders wereunconstitutional.

(Published by The Jurist, March 26, 2018)

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