RM100,000 fine for ‘fake news’ on virus or emergency

PETALING JAYA: Effective tomorrow, those who create, publish or distribute fake news will face a fine of up to RM100,000, a jail term of up to three years or both under a new emergency ordinance published today.

Those who pay for the creation of such fake news will face harsher punishment, with fines of up to RM500,000 or a jail term of six years or both.

The Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021 defines “fake news” as news or information that “is or are wholly or partly false relating to Covid-19 or the proclamation of emergency”.

In addition, the courts may order those convicted of an offence to apologise to those affected by their actions. Failure to do so may result in another fine of up to RM50,000, a jail term of under a year, or both.

The law applies to all media forms “capable of suggesting words or ideas,” such as news features, videos and audio material.

Those in control or in possession of material deemed to be fake news have 24 hours to remove the offending publication from the time the direction is given by the police or an authorised officer. Those who fail to do so will face a fine not exceeding RM100,000 with up to RM3,000 added every day the directive is not followed.

The police or authorised officers can be directed by the sessions court to take necessary measures to remove the published material on the application of the public prosecutor.

Any person affected by the publication or distribution of the fake news may make an ex parte application to the sessions court to order its removal.

Further, it is also an offence to knowingly provide financial assistance for the purpose of creating or disseminating fake news, and those found guilty are liable to a fine not exceeding RM500,000, a jail term of up to six years, or both.

An article by FMT – 
Click here to read the official article.