Fine and jail time for fake news on COVID-19

Written by: Bernie Yeo | 12 Mar 2021 14:40
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Written by:
12 Mar 2021 14:40

The federal government has gazetted an ordinance that seeks to criminalise "fake news" relating to Covid-19 and the Emergency proclamation, with stiff penalties for offenders.

Effective from yesterday (March 12), those who spread fake news "by any means, with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause fear or alarm to the public" could be fined up to RM100,000 or jailed up to three years, or both, if found guilty.

The court may order perpetrators to issue an apology, and failure to do so may result in an additional fine of up to RM50,000, a jail term of under a year, or both.

The ordinance defines fake news as any news, information, data and report "which is wholly or partly false relating to Covid-19 or the proclamation of emergency, whether in the forms of features, visuals or audio recordings or in any other form capable of suggesting words or ideas".

In the event of a continuing offence, perpetrators could face a further fine not exceeding RM1,000 for every day during which the offence continues after conviction.



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