Kuala Lumpur –
A Malaysian artist was sentenced to one month in prison for publicizing the caricature of Prime Minister Najib Razak who was described as a bad clown. This verdict raises concerns about the restriction of freedom of speech and speech in Malaysia.
As reported by Reuters Tuesday (20/2/2018), an artist named Fahmi Reza was found guilty of violating the Communications Law for spreading online content, which is considered inappropriate and offensive to others
Fahmi was found guilty of spreading online content that is considered obscene, indecent, engineering, threatening or offensive with the intention to harass, abuse, threaten or harass others.
In addition to being sentenced to one month's imprisonment, Fahmi was also fined 30,000 ringgit (Rp 104 million).
Fahmi's lawyer, Syahredzan Johan, stated the judge did not provide any basis for the verdict.
"We appeal against the verdict," Syahredzan said, declaring it would pay the 10,000 ringgit guarantee to release Fahmi during the appeal process. It is known that Fahmi was also charged with similar charges in different courts.
Fahmi was one of a number of opposition leaders and anti-government activists who were dragged to justice after protesting against PM Najib over a corruption scandal involving state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). PM Najib has denied all accusations related to 1MDB
The Malaysian government has blocked a number of critical news sites and portals reviewing 1MDB and PM Najib, although on the other hand the government has vowed not to censor the internet.
In recent times, Malaysia announced plans to amend legislation to counter false news. This is the latest step in expanding the prosecution of online posting or content that is perceived to endanger public order and security.
(nvc / ita)