I still stick to my position that policing fake news is dangerous no matter the circumstances. Therefore the law just passed is in my book a deadly precedence (just like a coup DE tat for that matter).
Besides being a very bad thing to do, policing speech is a losing battle. I guess a few ‘examples can be made’ of people here and there and it will scare people off a bit but fake news will not die. It goes underground where it’s most potent to cause harm.
Here is part of the statutory instrument gazetted by government today:
False reporting during the national lockdown
For the avoidance of doubt any person who publishes or communicates false news about any public officer, official or enforcement officer involved with enforcing or implementing the national lockdown in his or her capacity as such, or about any private individual that has the effect of prejudicing the State’s enforcement of the national lockdown, shall be liable for prosecution under section 31 of the Criminal Law Code (“Publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State”) and liable to the penalty there provided, that is to say, a fine up to or exceeding level fourteen or imprisonment for a period not exceeding twenty years or both.
I will wait for Veritas to do a legal expose on how legal this piece of law is or is not. I’m no lawyer but I doubt this holds up to any standard of legality you can hold it up to.
Further more, what kind of sentencing is this? 20 years? This can be a useful tool for an all too powerful state that is empowering itself further in the wake of a pandemic to just target whoever they consider to be ‘a problem’ and put them away for good.