Apr 3, 2018

Malaysia to punish "fake news" with six-year prison sentences

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Photo: Kyodo News via Getty Images

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's government approved a law banning the malicious spread of false news reporting on Monday, instituting penalties of up to six years in prison and $125,000, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Fake news — the term used in the law — is an international concern after its starring role in the 2016 U.S. elections. This is an early post-2016 attempt to regulate a potential scourge.

Yes, but: Malaysia's free speech record is heavily criticized, and some observers view the new law as a tool for punishing dissent. United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye said that the bill was being passed too quickly, without proper deliberation on consequences.

  • "[I] urge the Government to reconsider the bill and open it up to regular and genuine public scrutiny before taking any further steps," Kaye tweeted,hours before it passed.

Deeper dive: One of the fears of President Trump's more politicized use of the term fake news is that strongmen could view it as a green light for repression.

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In just a matter of weeks, top economists and investment bank analysts have gone from expecting the coronavirus outbreak to have minimal impact on the U.S. economy to warning that an outright recession may be on the horizon.

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee on Wednesday, including the gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at a Wednesday evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

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33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

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