Malaysian court jails Danish man in country's first fake news case conviction

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Police records suggest it took only eight minutes to respond.

The 46-year-old was accused of sharing the video "with ill intent".

Courts in Malaysia have for the first time sent a person to jail using powers afforded by new fake news laws. In fact over in Malaysia, a law was passed where it made the dissemination of fake news illegal where they could be sent to jail and/or fined.

Salah Salem was charged with maliciously publishing fake news in the form of a YouTube video under the user name Salah Sulaiman titled "Pembunuhan Sheikh Al Ghazawi Fadi Al Batsy di Kuala Lumpur, cukuplah Allah bagi kamu sebaik-baik wakil", near the Puteri Idaman condominium, Jalan Meranti, Setapak here between 6.50am and 9am on April 21.

"Malaysia's first conviction under its "fake news" law shows authorities plan to abuse the new provision to criminalize critical reporting", CPJ senior Southeast Asia representative Shawn Crispin said.

Sulaiman argued that his video was posted in a "moment of anger", adding: "I agreed I made a mistake ..."

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"I agree I did a mistake because I didn't ask what the law of this country is", the news agency AFP quoted the Dane.

Palestinian lecturer Faid al-Batsh was shot dead by two men on April 21.

Sessions Court Judge Zaman Mohd Noor sentenced him to a week's jail from the date of arrest and a fine of RM10,000. "I seriously apologise to everybody in Malaysia, not just in the Malaysian police", he told the Guardian. If he can not pay the fine, Sulaiman will have to serve another month behind bars.

Malaysia's inspector-general of police, Mohamad Fuzi Harun, said a day after the shooting that their records showed a distress call was received at 6:41 a.m. and a patrol auto arrived at the scene eight minutes later. Lawmakers in Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines also are preparing legislation to counter the proliferation of fake news online.

Malaysia's Anti-Fake News Act covers "news, information, data and reports" that are deemed "wholly or partly false" and includes features, visuals and audio recordings. Local media organisation Malaysiakini has filed a suit seeking to declare the law unconstitutional.

A Danish national has pleaded guilty to breaking the new law against fake news on Monday.