Mercifully some bad ideas are put to rest quickly. The Indian government’s decision to shelve plans to restrain journalists deemed to be peddling falsehoods was one. Less than 24 hours after prompting an outcry from the media, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered his information and broadcasting ministry to retreat. Hopefully, that is the end of it. Malaysian journalists are not so lucky. Last week, the government in Kuala Lumpur began pushing through a new law that will make the dissemination of "fake news" punishable by up to six years in prison. The offence includes anyone, in or outside Malaysia, sharing news on social media that the authorities decide is false. It also carries heavy fines. In India, the government had envisaged the lesser sanction of removing or suspending the accreditation of offending journalists. Understandably, human rights activists and members of the media saw this as the thin end of the censor’s wedge — a tool that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party could use...

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