Tabling of bill to repeal Anti-Fake News Act 2018 a positive step

Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm), as one of the movers of the protest against the act three years ago, welcomes the move by the government to abolish the law.

Three years ago on 8 August, hundreds of media practitioners marched in Kuala Lumpur to protest against the suspension of financial weekly The Edge over its reports on 1MDB.

Many of those present who showed their support for the #AtTheEdge protest were warned, criticised and even accused of various false claims.

The suspension of the Edge over its reports on 1MDB was cited as an anecdote to support the enactment of the Anti-Fake News Act 2018, ahead of the general election earlier this year.

Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm), as one of the movers of the protest, welcomes the move by the government to abolish the law through its tabling of the Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill 2018 in Parliament on 8 August 2018.

On behalf of media practitioners and supporters of a free media, Geramm views the move as a positive step towards creating a freer Malaysian media landscape.

Thank you to all who supported the #AtTheEdge rally three years ago. On that note, we would also like to thank all media practitioners and supporters of our “Fight fake new with facts, not acts” campaign launched on 26 March in conjunction with the tabling of the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 in Parliament.

We believe that support for the social media campaign was in some ways recognised by the Pakatan Harapan government, whose leaders were at the time members of the federal opposition against the Barisan Nasional government.

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Following the repeal of the act, Geramm urges the government to speed up efforts towards setting up an independent media council led by media practitioners from various agencies and relevant stakeholders.

Taking the example of Indonesia as our closest neighbour, Geramm believes the time has come for media practitioners in Malaysia to be freed from the shackles of various laws, and move towards a “self-regulation” process to resolve any disputes which may arise.

As a guide, Geramm has submitted a draft proposal for an independent press council to Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo. Among others, the proposal includes a guideline which can be used by elected members to address matters brought its for deliberation.

Once again, Geramm would like to state our congratulations and extend a solidarity call to all #kawangeramm.

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