KUALA LUMPUR: The draft of a new law to combat fake news is expected to be brought to the Cabinet after Chinese New Year.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said stated that the draft would include the definition of fake news as well as the form of punishment to be handed out to those propagating it.
"If Cabinet accepts (the draft), we can take it to Parliament in the March session," she told a press conference after opening the special seminar and discussion on the National Legal Aid Foundation at the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration.
Azalina said through a series of discussions the government had held with various parties, many had raised the issue of the definition of fake news as well as those responsible to enforce the law.
She added the government had held three sessions of discussion with various parties including non-governmental organisations, media representatives, law agencies as well as local leaders.
"Of course, the consistent statement from every meeting is the definition of fake news.
"Generally, there is a consensus that we do need a new law because the existing laws are quite inadequate in certain circumstances," she added.
Azalina said current laws, such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission Act, were not enough to tackle the issue of fake news.
"Sometimes the content is fake, the author is fake, the content is misleading or fabricated. There are lots of things that can be defined as fake news," she added.
Earlier, Azaina had chaired a special committee meeting on the proposed fake news law, which was attended by various agencies, academicians and non-governmental organisations.
Among those who attended were the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia and Malaysian Press Institute.