KUALA LUMPUR: The much anticipated Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 was tabled at the Dewan Rakyat for its first reading on Monday (March 26).
The Bill seeks to provide for certain offences and measures to curb the dissemination of fake news or related matters.
"As technology advances with time, the dissemination of fake news becomes a global concern and more serious in that it affects the public," reads the Bill, which was tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
The Bill also purportedly seeks to safeguard the public against the spread of fake news whilst ensuring the right to freedom of speech and expression under the Federal Constitution is respected.
There are also provisions, proposed in the Bill, on the power of the Court to make an order to remove content on any publication medium, in particular social media platforms.
"With the proposed Act, it is hoped that the public will be more responsible and cautious in sharing news and information," it reads.
Once the Bill is passed, anyone found "knowingly creating, offering, publishing, printing, distributing, circulating or disseminating" any fake news or publication containing it is liable to a fine up to RM500,000 or imprisonment up to 10 years or both.
In the case of a continuing offence, a person is liable to a further fine of up to RM3,000 for every day during which the offence continues after conviction.
In addition to the punishment, the Court may also order for an apology, such as in open court or by publishing it in newspapers, for example.
Anyone who is found to provide financial assistance for the purposes of committing or facilitating the offence is also liable to a fine up to RM500,000 or imprisonment up to 10 years or both.
The Bill also states that any person who fails to remove publications containing fake news is also liable to a fine up to RM100,000 and in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine up to RM3,000 daily during which the offence continues after conviction.