Democracy & Elections

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

Jen Patja, Evelyn Douek, Quinta Jurecic, Gabrielle Lim
Thursday, May 28, 2020, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
Brookings

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 After a new government came into power following the country’s 2018 elections, the law was quickly repealed.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.



Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Evelyn Douek is an Assistant Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and Senior Research Fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. She holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School on the topic of private and public regulation of online speech. Prior to attending HLS, Evelyn was an Associate (clerk) to the Honourable Chief Justice Susan Kiefel of the High Court of Australia. She received her LL.B. from UNSW Sydney, where she was Executive Editor of the UNSW Law Journal.
Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Gabrielle Lim is a researcher with the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center and a fellow with Citizen Lab.

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