Malaysia prosecutes Danish national under fake news law
02:00, May 2, 2018
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"Malaysia's first conviction under its "fake news" law shows authorities plan to abuse the new provision to criminalize critical reporting", CPJ senior Southeast Asia representative Shawn Crispin said.
Under the newly introduced law, people disseminating false news deliberately can be punished up to six years in jail and a hefty fine. He said his action was a mistake and apologised. Salah claimed he made countless calls to police who were slow to respond, and that an ambulance came an hour later. "I did not know such a law and I did not have any knowledge about it", Salah, who was wearing a white robe and a green skullcap, told the court in English.
The court sentenced him to a month in jail after he said he could not pay the fine of 10,000 ringgit.
Salah, who was unrepresented at the court hearing, pleaded guilty, but said the video was posted in a "moment of anger" and he did not mean any harm.
The militant group Hamas has eulogized Al Batsh as a member and accused Israel of involvement in the killing, but Israeli officials dismissed the allegations. I apologise, I do not know anything about Malaysia. Police have yet to identify the suspects, but believe they are still in the country.
Malaysia's Anti-Fake News Act covers "news, information, data and reports" that are deemed "wholly or partly false" and includes features, visuals and audio recordings.
A commuter walks past an advertisement warning of the dangers of spreading "fake news" at a train station in downtown Kuala Lumpur on March 26.
Malaysia's new fake news laws have been criticised by some for fear that that they will be used tom quash reporting of the corruption scandal now engulfing Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Media company Mkini Dotcom launched a legal challenge against the law on the grounds that it violates free speech and civil liberty.
The law was introduced alongside realigned electoral boundaries, which opponents say is another way for Razak to give his party an unfair advantage in the coming election. The government closed down websites and arrested journalists covering the scandal in 2015.
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He said they also discussed China's planned further opening of some markets, a move that USA has encouraged and "appreciated". On Sunday, China's commerce ministry said it would welcome us officials to discuss trade and economic issues.
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