PUTRAJAYA: The Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 will not affect press freedom in the country when it is passed and will also protect the media from being victims of fake news, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
Liow, who is also MCA president, said the Bill was aimed at curbing dissemination of inaccurate news and protect the people's interest from manipulated content.
“The Anti-Fake News Bill is to protect the rakyat. It is neither for political revenge nor manipulation," said Liow.
He added there is no attempt to suppress press freedom and said that he does not think that the press should be worried about fake news as it merely reports what is happening.
"Action will only be taken against those who say something (fake) or spread fake news, not the press,” he said at a press conference after attending the 18th Annual General Meeting of the Malaysian Driving Institute Association (Pima) here Friday (March 30).
The Anti-Fake News Bill was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat for first reading on March 26 and second reading on Thursday (March 29).
The law aims to protect the public from the rapid spread of fake news while ensuring respect for the right of freedom of speech and expression under the Federal Constitution.
On Thursday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said two changes would be made to the Bill before it is passed.
This included the reduction of jail time for creating and spreading fake news from 10 years to six years.
The other change was a proposal to replace the word “knowingly” in clause four with “maliciously” after hearing from various parties, including lawmakers.
On the issue of seats for the 14th General Election, the MCA president said that it was almost finalised. - Bernama