There’s a whole lot of rumbling with the tabling of Malaysia’s Anti-Fake News law. The biggest worry that a lot of people have is how do you classify fake news.
The problem with the issue of “fake news” is that while there pretty obvious examples of what is fake, there are times where it can be a matter of perspective or a one other person’s word against another. And while this particular issue has to be ironed out before the law is passed, there’s also the other issue of how will the expected Anti-fake news laws affect everyone.
So to break it down a little, the Malay Mail has broken down 8 scenarios on how people might get in trouble based on the Anti Fake News law. So y0u won’t be confused, we have three people for the scenarios, you, a friend of yours and a well-known businessman called Z. So here are the scenarios
1. When your friend publishes ‘fake news’ from you unknowingly: You’re guilty
In this scenario, you’re the source of the “fake news”. If you were to come up with any fake news and pass it on to your friend, and he/she publishes it NOT KNOWING the information is fake, your friend wont’ be found guilty. Instead, as you’re the source of the “fake news”, you’ll be guilty.
2. When you publish ‘fake news’ about Z: You are guilty
In the second case you will be found guilty if you fabricated an information in an article published in your own blog, like claiming Z, a well-known businessman, got his business contracts by offering bribes.
3. When your friend shares your ‘fake news’ on Z knowing it was false: Both you and your friend are guilty
Likewise, even as a third party to the second scenario, your friend will also be found guilty if he/she knows that the “fake news” or information of yours about Z is false and yet continues to share and publish it on his/her social media account. In this case not only are you guilty, your friends is as well.
4. When you publish ‘fake news’ advertisement on Z’s success: You are guilty
In the fourth scenario, you will be considered guilty if you advertise a caricature of person Z depicting the latter is a successful investor in an investment scheme when in actual fact Z was never involved in such activity. Since you’re fabricating the advertisement, you’re considered guilty.
5. When you share ‘fake news’ on Z’s product when it no longer exists: You’re guilty
You’ll also be found guilty if you publish on your social media account that businessman Z’s company contains harmful ingredients and is being sold to the public, even though you know that the production of the food product had been discontinued for a long time, and is no longer available for public consumption.
6. When you impersonate a government agency and issue ‘fake news’: You’re guilty
This sixth scenario is pretty obvious as well. If you try to impersonate a government agency either by creating a fake website and publishing guidelines that are supposedly issued by a head of the agency, which never existed, you’re obviously guilty. It’s needless to say that impersonating any government official or agency will get you into trouble.
7. When you publicise ‘fake news’ about Z in a public forum: You’re guilty
This scenario would be something a lot of our local politicians ought to take note of. The Bill says that you will be guilty if you publicise in a public forum that Z has done something wrong, knowing that the information is false. This could be in form of “fake news” that Z misappropriated funds collected for charitable purposes when it is not true.
8. When you announce ‘fake news’ about Z in a press conference: You’re guilty
And finally, the last scenario is similar to that of the seventh. You will be found guilty if you claim in a press conference that Z will do something that he never had any intention of. For example, Z could be an owner of a supermarket, and in the press conference, you claim he will give out free gifts to the first one hundred customers of his supermarket on every first Saturday of the month when such a deed was never his intention. This is still giving out false information and you will be guilty.
As you can see, the majority of this scenarios are actually quite logical. You will be guilty if you are the source and perpetrator of false news and information. We may not be law experts but some of these scenarios could also be applied in the case of libel laws which seem to overlap with the Anti-Fake news laws.
One thing to note, though is scenario one. If you unknowingly publish and share fake news, you’re not guilty. Now that scenario could be a bit dicey as sometimes it might not be so easy to prove that you didn’t really know it was fake in the first place… right?
Maybe it’s better to err in the side of caution so you might want to tell you uncle, aunties, dad, mum etc that maybe they shouldn’t just forward and share every single article they find online, just in case they get into trouble
Source: Malay Mail