Malaysian media challenges ‘anti-fake news’ law as unconstitutional

The Malaysian online news portal Malaysiakini has challenged the constitutional standing of the recently passed Anti-Fake News law. (Screen grab)
Updated 27 April 2018
0

Malaysian media challenges ‘anti-fake news’ law as unconstitutional

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian online news portal Malaysiakini has challenged the constitutional standing of the recently passed Anti-Fake News law.
The news portal filed for a judicial review on Friday at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on the basis that the law violates civil liberties and freedom of speech.
According to Malaysiakini, the media company “is seeking leave for a declaration that the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 is in violation of Article 5, and Article 10 (1), read together with Article 8.” It has also demanded that the Home Ministry and the government revoke the law.
“We feel this action is very important as the act goes against constitutional provisions of freedom of speech,” Premesh Chandran Jeyachandran, Malaysiakini’s chief executive officer, told Reuters.
The law outlines fake news broadly as “news, information, data and reports which is or are wholly or partly false,” and expands it to cover digital publications and social media.
Despite the outcry by the media, human rights organizations and the public, the Anti-Fake News bill was passed swiftly in Parliament on April 2, and gazetted into law on April 11.
The unpopular law’s harsh punishment includes jail terms of up to six years and fines amounting to $130,000.
Human rights lawyer Andrew Khoo told Arab News that Malaysiakini is in the business of news reporting and is directly affected by the law.”It is hard to ensure that every news (item) is 100 percent accurate when it is first reported.” He added that news develops gradually based on facts that are subsequently disclosed or revealed.
“Hence the challenge to the law in the court — so that such wide law with vague or unclear definitions is not used in Malaysia,” he said.
Ed Legaspi, Southeast Asian Press Alliance executive director, told Arab News: “This challenge is an important move against the Anti-Fake-News law, as it registers a principled opposition to the law on the basis of right to freedom of expression.”
Legaspi added that journalists are also on the frontline of those who are threatened by the Anti-Fake News law because of their role in keeping information flowing.
The bill is part of a larger government campaign against fake news since last year.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has been running a fact-checking portal at sebenarnya.my, as well as a series of billboard-campaigns that discourage the public from sharing and spreading fake news.
The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Arab News gets more global design recognition

Updated 21 February 2019
0

Arab News gets more global design recognition

  • Arab News scooped a Merit Award in the covers and jackets category for its front page
  • The annual competition celebrates design excellence on a global scale

LONDON: Arab News has scooped another international design award.

The Middle East’s leading English-language daily newspaper was recognized in the international design awards run by “HOW” magazine for its iconic Women Drivers cover.

The annual competition celebrates design excellence on a global scale — and every year honors entries from all over the world. 

“For Arab News to be recognized on a global scale with this award is a great honor. There were over 1,100 entries from all over the world so to win a Merit Award is a brilliant achievement,” said Arab News Global Creative Director Simon Khalil.

Arab News scooped a Merit Award in the covers and jackets category for its front page which featured an image of a Saudi woman driving by “New Yorker” illustrator Malika Favre.

It was commissioned by Arab News for the cover of a special souvenir edition on June 24 of last year and has since been shared around the world.

The image, of a road reflected in a woman’s sunglasses, has become one of the most retweeted artworks celebrating women driving in the Kingdom.

“As a champion of women for years through her unique creative style, Malika Favre was the obvious choice for our cover, and her illustration brilliantly captures the significance of this moment on the day Saudi Arabia changed forever,” added Khalil.

“This award will inspire the whole team to produce even better design and content for our readers and we are very pleased the design community has recognized our efforts with this prestigious award.”

This year’s awards attracted some 1,100 entries from around the world.