Podcasts

The Lawfare Podcast: Gabrielle Lim on the Life and Death of Malaysia's Anti-Fake News Act

By Jen Patja Howell
Thursday, May 28, 2020, 4:15 PM

In this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Gabrielle Lim, a researcher with the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center and a fellow with Citizen Lab. Lim just released a new report with Data and Society on the fascinating story of a Malaysian law ostensibly aimed at stamping out disinformation. The Anti-Fake News Act, passed in 2018, criminalized the creation and dissemination of what the Malaysian government referred to as “fake news.” After a new government came into power following the country’s 2018 elections, the law was quickly repealed. But the story of how Malaysia’s ruling party passed the act, and how Malaysian civil society pushed back against it, is a useful case study on how illiberal governments can use the language of countering disinformation to clamp down on free expression, and how the way democratic governments talk about disinformation has global effects.