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Emergency Ordinance not aimed at restricting freedom of speech, protects affected parties — MCMC

KUALA LUMPUR (March 20): The enforcement of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance (No 2) 2021 is not a move by the Government to restrict freedom of expression says Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chief regulatory officer Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin.

He said among other things, it aimed to protect individuals or organisations from becoming victims of fraud and defamation due to ‘fake news’ related to Covid-19 and the Proclamation of Emergency, which also included the court's role in maintaining checks and balances.

“From one aspect, a person may apply to the court to protect (him) or remove (untrue) content, we should also look at from the aspect of the individual and business, they may be defamed, for example a supermarket is defamed following claims that its employees have been infected with Covid-19.

“So what is the protection for the business organisation, they can obtain a court order for the content to be removed, and for those who are not satisfied with the order issued by the court, they also have the opportunity to get a court order to set aside the (previous) order,” he said when appearing on Bernama TV's Ruang Bicara programme yesterday.

The ordinance provides a fine not exceeding RM100,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both, while in the case of a continuing offence, a further fine not exceeding RM1,000 for every day during which the offence continues after conviction.

According to the ordinance, the 'fake news' includes any news, information, data and reports, wholly or partially false, relating to Covid-19 or the emergency.

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