People took to social media to warn each other against spreading misinformation as the Anti-Fake News Act came into effect yesterday.
The Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 was passed in Dewan Rakyat on April 2 and gazetted in less than 10 days, surprising many.
It has already been uploaded to the Federal Gazette website, where it states the law received the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s assent on April 9.
Speaking at the inaugural National Journalists’ Day (Hari Wartawan Nasional or Hawana) celebration in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, the Prime Minister said the new law would not curtail the freedom of journalists.
“I know that some journalists are worried that this new Act will be used to restrict their freedom in reporting,” he said.
“But I would like to say that this is not the right view as the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, through Section 8A, has already made it an offence to publish any fake news,” he added.
However, current legislation has not been effective and comprehensive enough to curb and control the spread of fake news due to the rapid development of technology.
Malaysia’s Anti-Fake News Act 2018 is probably only the second time such a law against false news and slander has been enacted by a government after Germany’s Net Enforcement Act was passed last year.