Danish man: first person to be sentenced by Malaysia’s Anti-Fake -News law

Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman, 46, is a citizen of Denmark. He had posted a video on YouTube on April 21, after a Palestinian lecturer was shot and killed in Kuala Lumpur. In the video, Sulaiman "claimed he was with the Palestinian victim during the shooting and made countless calls..

Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman, 46, is a citizen of Denmark. He had posted a video on YouTube on April 21, after a Palestinian lecturer was shot and killed in Kuala Lumpur. In the video, Sulaiman "claimed he was with the Palestinian victim during the shooting and made countless calls to the police who arrived the scene 50 minutes later," Malaysia's The Star reported.

However, the police say their records show that a patrol car was on the scene eight minutes after the shooting, according to Reuters. Sulaiman was charged with maliciously publishing fake news. Reuters said that Sulaiman pleaded guilty and was fined just over $2,500, but because he could not pay the fine, he will serve a month in jail.

Malaysia's Anti-Fake News Act, passed earlier this month went swiftly into effect, however, it has been widely criticized for allowing the possibility of censorship.

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance, writing before the law was passed, said it was "another weapon for the Malaysian government to control the press," noting the risk of criminal consequences for reporters who make errors, as well as the possibility of using the law to suppress critical opinions from satirists or opinion writers.

Assessment

Our assessment is that the Malaysian government has indeed taken the necessary steps to curb the spread and impact of fake news. It has also successfully rendered its first case in the Anti-Fake-News law.  We believe that the law makes it illegal to share fake news and as to create it and the act of retweeting is cognizable. People outside Malaysia who create and share fake news about a Malaysian person can also be prosecuted in the law.