Malaysia just made fake news illegal and punishable by up to six years in jail

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Malaysia passed a new law today that would punish citizens on social media or those working at a digital publication for spreading fake news with a 500,000 ringgit ($ 123,000) fine and a possible a prison sentence of up to six years. Led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Anti-Fake News bill passed in parliament today despite opponents who had criticized the bill for possibly impeding free speech and attempting to censor the prime minister’s involvement in a multibillion-dollar scandal.

A draft of the bill had specified a prison sentence of up to 10 years as punishment, but the government toned it down to six in the finalized version, as reported by Reuters. Fake news cases will be handled by an independent court process. Violators could…

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