COMMENT | Malaysia yesterday became the first country to formally table an Anti-Fake News Bill in Parliament in an attempt to curb the “fake news” phenomenon, which has threatened the credibility of the media not just here but all over the globe.
In the weeks leading to the bill being tabled, the government had a series of engagement sessions and discussions with stakeholders regarding the drafting of this bill, while excluding one of the most important stakeholders - the media industry.
Any legislation on fake news would inevitably affect the media industry, and it is our firm belief that we should be seen as the most important stakeholders, as opposed to social media platforms and companies that the government had engaged with.
The bill reflects this lack of engagement with media, as it overlooks the impact it could have on the media and does not provide any safeguard for the industry in Malaysia.
Provisions in this bill allow the government to apply to have an article removed via the courts, following which the affected party would not be able to set aside the order if national security is cited in removing the article.
This provision is too broad and could be used to remove articles...