The Malaysian parliament repealed on Thursday the recently adopted Anti-Fake News Act amid fears that it could be used as a tool to prosecute people for political reasons, local media reported.
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 16th August, 2018) The Malaysian parliament repealed on Thursday the recently adopted Anti-Fake News Act amid fears that it could be used as a tool to prosecute people for political reasons, local media reported.
One of the opposition lawmakers argued that the act was created to address threat from social media, which can be used as a weapon and can "cause discontent throughout the world," and demanded to provide evidence that the act had been used as a means of political prosecution, the newspaper reported.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) welcomed the decision to repeal the act.
"The Committee to Protect Journalists applauds the government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad for following through on it campaign pledge to repeal the 'fake news' law that blatantly threatened freedom of the press. We hope other nations will follow Malaysia's lead in overturning laws that enable governments to decide what is news," CPJ's Asia program coordinator Steven Butler said as quoted in a published statement.
The Anti-Fake News Act 2018 was adopted by the Malaysian parliament in April. The legislation provides for punishment for the authors of fake news, who can be sentenced to up to six years in jail and an up to 500,000-ringgit fine (almost $123,000). The law was criticized by human rights activists who believe the new legislation to be aimed at silencing dissent.