A Practical Guide to Malaysia’s Anti-Fake News Act
May08

A Practical Guide to Malaysia’s Anti-Fake News Act

Key Takeaways: Malaysia’s Anti-Fake News Act is in effect and being enforced. The Act applies to the publication of information in any form which is wholly or partly false. Media companies, whether “traditional” or online media, should review policies and processes to avoid inadvertently falling foul of the requirements. Introduction: The term “fake news”, used to describe fabricated news or misinformation in the media, has attracted much attention recently – not only as used by President Trump to refer to certain media outlets but also by policy-makers around the world, who are weighing up whether and how to regulate it. One of the first countries in the world to introduce specific legislation is Malaysia, which introduced its Anti-Fake News Act on 11 April 2018. In this post, we look at what the Act requires and what it means for media companies. What is the Anti-Fake News Act? Malaysia enacted the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 on 11 April 2018. The Act has implications for anyone who publishes or distributes, or facilitates the publication or distribution of, news or any kind of public information. In particular, media companies – both traditional media outlets such as print, TV and radio, as well as online media and social media platforms – should be aware of the Act and its implications for the company’s practices. Failure to comply may attract hefty penalties for the company and its directors. How is “Fake News” defined? Under the Act, it is an offence to maliciously create, publish, distribute or otherwise disseminate “fake news”. This term is broadly defined to include any news or information in any form, which is wholly or partly false. The Act provides a non-exhaustive list of examples of offences under the Act, including: Publishing a statement on your social media account that a food product contains harmful ingredients and is being sold to the public, knowing that the food product has been discontinued and is no longer sold to the public Publishing an advertisement containing a caricature depicting someone as a successful investor in an investment scheme, knowing that person is not involved in the scheme Giving a speech at a public forum saying that someone has misappropriated moneys collected for charitable purposes, knowing that this is not true Holding a press conference claiming that the owner of supermarket will give out free gifts to customers on the first Saturday of each month, knowing that the owner has no intention to do so The broad application of the Act extends beyond the reach of existing defamation laws (which generally require proof of damage to one’s reputation) and media laws such as the Printing...

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Economic ambitions drive Asian data shake-up
Aug24

Economic ambitions drive Asian data shake-up

Data protection has been something of a focus for Asian law-makers recently. Until the last couple of years, there were very few laws or regulations in the region which addressed the issue specifically. This is not to say that there were no laws to protect privacy but, rather, that they tended to come from a number of older statutes or case law, and were in many cases no longer appropriate for countries competing on a global scale in the face of technological advances. That is changing. Driven by economic and commercial ambitions (and not just by protection of consumers), legislators across the region have recognised the need to bring their data protection regimes more in line with international standards. The ASEAN region in particular has become the most active in the world for new data legislation. As a result, organisations based in Asia or that have online platforms targeted at or hosted in Asia are having to wrestle with the new rules. So what does this all mean for businesses? We look here at the three most recent new laws in the region, in the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, and the practical steps that businesses will need to take to comply. Some context: economic ambitions as a driver for data policy in Asia Having in place a consolidated data protection law has some clear advantages. There is the obvious benefit to consumers, who will now be subject to a privacy framework that is more in line with that enjoyed by citizens elsewhere, such as in Europe. However, economic ambitions are the key driver. In order to compete on an international scale, countries in the region need to be able to demonstrate that they are “safe” places to do business and that the requirements they impose on organisations are in line with international standards. In order to get themselves on any “white-list” of adequate jurisdictions for data processing, governments have recognised the need to have legislation in place. At a business-to-business level, businesses wanting to source suppliers (e.g. customer call centre providers) or to locate operations in the region (e.g. data centres) need to know that data will be held and processed securely, to the standards that their customers (and their own regulators) expect. The Business Processing Association of the Philippines believes that the legislation will raise the country’s profile as a destination for IT outsourcing projects that involve the handling of sensitive personal data, describing the legislation as “an important step to increasing confidence among foreign investors”. In Singapore, the government’s ambition was to “strengthen and entrench Singapore’s position as a trusted hub for business”. The Philippines: “keystone legislation”...

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