Proposed law on fake news to be tabled in Parliament next week

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the bill does not curb freedom of expression as provided for by the constitution.
Facebook/Azalina Othman Said

The draft of a proposed law against fake news has been approved by the Cabinet with a Bill set to be tabled in Parliament next week, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

In a statement, Azalina said: “A briefing sessions for backbenchers and opposition MPs on the bill will be held very soon.”

It comes after a special committee meeting between experts and cybercrimes, computers and other agencies had been held to obtain views and feedback on the proliferation of fake news and its reach, reported The New Straits Times.

The committee included representatives from the police, the Communications and Multimedia Commission, Attorney-General’s Chambers, and non-governmental organisations and MPs, according to the Malay Mail Online.

Azalina explained that the proposed law targeted several offences related to the spread of fake news, how to combat them and was specifically formulated to protect the interest of Malaysians.

“However, the bill does not curb freedom of expression as provided for by the constitution,” she was cited as saying in a Free Malaysia Today report.

She said the federal government hoped that everyone would welcome the proposed legislation, stressing that the Bill gives a clear message that the Government will not compromise public peace and national security.

Azalina said last month that the federal government placed priority in introducing anti-fake news laws because of the existence of organised groups attempting to spark riots and hatred on a global scale and fears that Malaysia would be targeted.