Fake news legislation criminalizes activists

On Sept. 30, 2021 in Cambodia, journalist Youn Chhiv was sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 2 million riel (US$500) over charges of incitement, after he reported on the eviction of villagers and destruction of their property over state land claims. No judicial investigation was done before the trial as authorities assumed it was a case of flagrante delicto.

“Fake news laws” have been rolled out in East and Southeast Asian countries to deal with the digital age’s out-of-control spread of disinformation. While these laws are genuinely intended and worded to tackle the threat of fake news, they have been politicized and used against government critics and dissenting voices. The COVID-19 emergency decrees and temporary laws have strengthened this trend to stifle criticism of the rulers’ crisis management.

Six key targets accused of spreading “fake news” are identified: journalists, civil society activists, opposition leaders, student activists, artists and tech companies. Vaguely worded provisions easily transform legitimate comments and accurate evidence-based criticism into defamation and fear mongering.

In full: https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2021/10/21/fake-news-legislation-criminalizes-activists.html

Related Stories

Latest News