Malaysia Unveils Misinformation Law

Malaysia’s government introduced a law Thursday that punishes spreading coronavirus misinformation with jail time and hefty fines, sparking fury at what critics labelled an “appalling” attack on free speech.

(The – The shock move comes amid growing concerns about worsening freedom of expression in Malaysia since a scandal-plagued administration seized power last year.

The emergency ordinance comes into effect Friday, and does not need parliamentary approval as the country is currently under a state of emergency to fight the virus.

For spreading information deemed by authorities “wholly or partly false” related to COVID-19 or the state of emergency, the maximum punishment is three years in prison and a RM100,000 (US$24,000) fine.

Those found guilty of funding acts of publishing misinformation face a jail term of up to six years and a RM500,000 (US$121,624) fine, according to a copy of the law.

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