A month in jail for caricature


Kuala Lumpur:

A Malaysian artist and prominent opposition activist was jailed for a month on Tuesday (Feb 20) for publishing a caricature of Prime Minister Najib Razak looking like a clown, a ruling likely to exacerbate concern about free speech.

Well, good thing I have no talent in drawing, then, because I think Trump’s a clown.

“But Ray,” you might be thinking, “you’re something like 10,000 miles from Kuala Lumpur. Why do you care?”

Besides feeling for any victim of tyranny, regardless of which rulers he happens to suffer under, I recognize that bad ideas can spread:

[Malaysia] recently announced plans to amend a law to stamp out fake news, the latest step to broaden enforcement powers and penalties against online posts or content deemed detrimental to public order and security.

“Fake news.” About ten seconds of searching turned up a Los Angeles government official and a MSNBC host floating the idea of government-regulated news. And the next paragraph…

Artist Fahmi Reza was found guilty under a communications law for spreading online content deemed “obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person”.

…sounded familiar to me, too, because Connecticut and Arizona considered similar laws a few years ago.

Do you still think this problem is 10,000 miles away?

Categories: NewscreatureTags:

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