KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 ― New laws to curb fake news should include deterrent punishments, said Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chief operating officer Datuk Mazlan Ismail.
According to Berita Harian, Mazlan said the current punishments under Section 233 (1) Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 were insufficient to dissuade would-be offenders.
“In my opinion, the current fine of RM50,000 must be increased to RM500,000 and the jail sentence (from one year) should be increased to 10 years.
“This should be a lesson so no one would simply spread fake news,” he was quoted as saying.
Mazlan said publishing firms and media practitioners need not worry if they follow journalism ethics and the laws.
He said fake news was a threat to multiracial and multireligious Malaysia’s harmony.
A special committee to draft laws to curb fake news was formed on January 30, following an announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that new legislation was needed to curb the menace.
The committee includes representatives from the police, Attorney-General's Chambers, National Security Council, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, the Legal Affairs Division, MCMC, and also non-governmental organisations and Members of Parliament.