Don’t get any ideas, President Trump. The Malaysian government has tabled a bill to outlaw “fake news”—with publishers facing hefty fines and jail terms of as much as 10 years if they’re judged to have misled the public. The Anti-Fake News 2018 bill—introduced by the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak—would see anyone publishing misleading news facing fines of up to 500,000 ringgit ($128,140), up to 10 years in prison, or both. “The proposed act seeks to safeguard the public against the proliferation of fake news whilst ensuring the right to freedom of speech and expression under the federal constitution is respected,” the bill states, going on to describe “fake news” as “news, information, data, or reports which is or are wholly or partly false.” Opposition leaders said the bill threatens free speech and the media, with one saying it was “an attack on the press and an attempt to instill fear” ahead of an election expected to be called in the coming weeks.
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