A new law in Malaysia criminalizes expression and violates the right to privacy, an article in Human Rights Watch has noted. Here is an excerpt:
Malaysian authorities should revoke a new “fake news” ordinance that poses a serious threat to freedom of expression and privacy and the right to a fair trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021 was issued on March 11, 2021 under the January 12 Proclamation of Emergency, and came into effect on March 12 without any public consultation.
The new ordinance makes it a criminal offense to create, publish, or disseminate “fake news” relating to Covid-19 or the proclamation of emergency in the country, or to fail to take down such material upon the government’s request. It also requires individuals, corporations, and social media platforms to give the police access to traffic data and “computerized data” upon request, permits corporate directors and other executives to be held criminally liable for company actions, and overrides rules of evidence intended to ensure a fair trial. The ordinance purports to apply to anyone violating its terms anywhere in the world.
“It’s mystifying why the Malaysian authorities, roundly criticized around the world for a now repealed ‘fake news’ law, would resurrect this discredited idea,” said Linda Lakhdhir, Asia legal advisor at Human Rights Watch. “The new ordinance contains much that was wrong with the old law and will stifle much-needed discussion of the pandemic and how it has been handled by the Malaysian government.”
Read the full article here.