Malaysia: First person convicted under fake news law

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 30, 2018, 07.21 PM(IST)

Representative image. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Malaysian authorities have convicted a Danish man for ''fake news'' making it a first arrest under the controversial law.

46-year-old man name Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman a Yemeni descent posted a video on YouTube accusing emergency services, police and ambulance responding late to the distress call after a Palestinian lecturer was gunned down in Kuala Lumpur on April 21.

In his video, Sulaiman claimed in Arabic that the authorities took 50 minutes in responding to the distress calls after the incident took place whereas the police have disputed claiming that it took eight minutes to respond.

Sulaiman has pleaded guilty in court and said that he didn't mean to spread any kind of harm to the society as he apologised. He further said that the two-minute video was made under frustrated emotion.

He has been sentenced to a week by a local judge and fined with 10,000 ringgit.

The court has further directed to extend his imprisonment by one month if he fails to pay his fine.

Ahead of the upcoming elections in May, Malaysia introduced laws against fake news to crack down on people spreading false information and hate speech.

However, the law was criticised by the Malaysian media and experts as it has alleged that the law breaches constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech. Some critics of the law are also seeing it as an attempt to suppress talks of the corruption ahead of the election.

Malaysia became one of the few countries who introduced laws against fake news issue. The law was passed earlier in April which makes spreading false news punishable by up to six years with a hefty fine of 500,000 ringgit.