Thinking and Talking about Arts and Culture in Southeast Asia

Malaysian court jails, fines artist for clown caricature of PM (via Reuters)

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

Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy 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.

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”.

Fahmi was also fined 30,000 ringgit ($7,700). His lawyer, Syahredzan Johan, said the judge did not give any grounds for the ruling.

“We are appealing the decision,” Syahredzan said, adding that they will post a 10,000 ringgit bond to release Fahmi from custody pending the appeal.

 

Read the news report on Reuters.

 

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