So what exactly counts as ‘fake news’? Govt Bill explains

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, the de facto law minister had said that the law was solely meant to protect people from fake news, and not meant to block one’s freedom of expression. — Picture by Razak Ghazali
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, the de facto law minister had said that the law was solely meant to protect people from fake news, and not meant to block one’s freedom of expression. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — The Parliament saw the tabling of the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 for the first reading today after the Cabinet approved its draft last Wednesday.

But what are the cases in which a person can be found to have committed fake news under the law, if it’s passed?

Here are eight scenarios listed in the Bill in which a person can be charged and slapped with a fine up of to RM500,000 or jailed up to 10 years, or both.

1.            When B publishes ‘fake news’ from A unknowingly: A is guilty

Under the first scenario, if person B publishes on his blog a news that he received from person A without knowing if the information was false, he is not found guilty. Instead, it is the latter who is found guilty.

2.            When A publishes ‘fake news’ on Z: A is guilty

The second illustration showed that person A is guilty if he had fabricated an information in an article published in his blog claiming that person Z, a well-known businessman has obtained business contracts by offering bribes.  

3.            When B shares A’s ‘fake news’ on Z knowing it was false: A and B are guilty

Likewise, third party to the second scenario, person B, is also found guilty if he knew that that the abovementioned piece of information about Z had been fabricated and yet published it on his social media account.

4.            When A publishes ‘fake news’ advertisement on Z’s success: A is guilty

In the fourth illustration, person A is guilty if he advertises a caricature of person Z depicting the latter as a successful investor in an investment scheme, when Z was never involved in such activity.

5.            When A shares ‘fake news’ on Z’s product when it no longer exists: A is guilty

Similarly, person A is found guilty if he publishes on his social media account that person Z’s company contains harmful ingredients and is being sold to the public knowing that the production of the food product had been discontinued years ago, and not available for public consumption.

6.            When A impersonates government agency and issues ‘fake news’: A is guilty

In the sixth scenario, person A is punishable if he impersonates a government agency by creating a website and publishing a guideline purportedly issued by a head of the agency, which never existed.

7.            When A tells ‘fake news’ about Z in a public forum: A is guilty

In the seventh scenario, the Bill saig that person A is guilty if he informs the public via a public forum that Z had misappropriated funds collected for charitable purposes knowing that the information is false.

8.            When A announces ‘fake news’ about Z in press conference: A is guilty

Almost similar to that, last scenario said that person A is guilty if he claims in a press conference that Z, an owner of a supermarket, will give out free gifts to the first one hundred customers of his supermarket on every first Saturday of the month when such a deed was never the intentions of Z.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, the de facto law minister had said that the law was solely meant to protect people from fake news, and not meant to block one’s freedom of expression.

Related Articles