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Title: Fake News and the Pandemic in Southeast Asia
Contributor(s): Smith, Robert  (author)orcid ; Perry, Mark  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2022
Early Online Version: 2022-03-21
Open Access: Yes
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Open Access Link: Access Link

The rapid growth of internet accessibility and increased number of social media users in Southeast Asia have provided a readily available technology to spread fake news and hate speech. This article discusses the rise of fake news in Southeast Asia in recent times, particularly during Covid-19 pandemic, and examines different legislative responses within the region. Fake news takes several forms. Disinformation campaigns by non-state actors are prevalent in Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, but disinformation campaigns by state actors are most prevalent in Myanmar. All Southeast Asian jurisdictions have legislation to prosecute offenders. Singapore enacted fake news-specific legislation, while the other jurisdictions rely on existing laws such as telecommunications, defamation or cybercrime legislation. A common feature of the legislation is that the definitions of fake news or spreading false information are broad and potentially impact freedom of speech, particularly now some Southeast Asian governments have passed laws that prohibit criticism of the government's response to the pandemic.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Asian Law, 22(2), p. 131-154
Publisher: Federation Press Pty Ltd
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1839-4191
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 480301 Asian and Pacific law
480302 Comparative law
480306 International criminal law
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 230407 Legislation, civil and criminal codes
230404 Law enforcement
230402 Crime prevention
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Law

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