Anti-Fake News Act 2018 gazetted yesterday


The Anti-Fake News Act 2018 which was passed by the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara earlier this month, was gazetted yesterday.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak (picture) said the Act had received the consent of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.

In his speech at the launch of the National Journalists’ Day (Hawana), he brushed aside the fear of a group of journalists that the new Act purportedly would be used to restrict their freedom in news reporting.

“But I wish to disclose that this view is inaccurate and incorrect because among other things, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, via Section 8A, had made it an offence to publish fake news.

“Although there are existing legal provisions, the problems to curb the dissemination of fake news cannot be controlled effectively and comprehensively, following the current development in information technology, which is more rapid and complex,” he said.

Najib said the Act is based on the public’s interest to protect members of the public from the dissemination of fake news besides the element of deterrence — where every individual must be responsible for the sharing of correct and valid information.

He said the Act would also not compromise on the dissemination of news that could jeopardise public peace or national security.

Addressing about 1,000 media practitioners from throughout the country, the prime minister pointed out that the government always provided space for the freedom of speech and had implemented media freedom through various transformations.

He said they included the implementation of law reformation such as through the abolition of the Internal Security Act 1960, introducing the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, besides transformation of the media by abolishing the printing licence and publishing permit.

“This is clearly different from the freedom of speech track record during the era of the current Opposition leader, who previously administered the nation for 22 years,” he said.