KOTA KINABALU, SABAH – Kota Kinabalu Journalists Association (KKJA) chairman Yong Ted Phen yesterday welcomed the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s assurance that the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 gazetted on April 11 would not restrict freedom in news reporting.
He said Najib has promised that the freedom of speech as enshrined in the Federation Constitution would not be compromised as the Act took effect.
With that, Yong hoped that the government would be fair and unbiased when enforcing the Act.
Najib, when speaking at the launch of the National Journalists’ Day (Hawana) on Wednesday, has announced that the Anti-Fake News Act 2018, which was passed in Dewan Rakyat earlier this month, has been gazetted after receiving consent from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.
Under the Act, any individual convicted of spreading fake news could be fined up to RM 500,000 and jailed not more than six years.
Yong said the Malaysian media were currently being governed by numerous Acts, including the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
“Media practitioners in the country have always abided to the relevant laws to bring our leaders accurate and fair news reporting.”
Yong said Najib has asserted that the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 was not aimed at restricting press freedom and that his administration has facilitated the freedom of speech as provided under the Federal Constitution.
“As such, we hope that the government will be fair when enforcing the Act,” he stressed.
At the same time, Yong welcomed the announcement of National Journalists’ Day on May 29 as recognition towards the contribution of the media fraternity to the country and society.
“Since the registration of KKJA in 1992, we have been celebrating press night on August 31 or September 1 annually.
“The event not only aims to promote closer ties between members and their families, but also to commend journalists for their hard work in news reporting.”
Yong also thanked the advisors and sponsors of KKJA for their support in the last 26 years that have made every event a success.
He added that the Sabah State Government led by Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman and Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu have also been greatly supportive of the association’s events.