Malaysian court jails artist for clown caricature of PM Najib

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KUALA LUMPUR A Malaysian artist and opposition activist was jailed for a month yesterday for publishing a caricature of Prime Minister Najib Razak as a clown, a ruling likely to exacerbate free speech concerns.

Malaysia recently announced plans to amend a law to stamp out fake news, broadening enforcement powers and penalties against online posts or content deemed detrimental to public order.

Artist Fahmi Reza was found guilty of 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 RM30,000 (S$10,150). His lawyeris appealing the decision.

Fahmi was among anti-government and opposition leaders and activists rounded up after protests against Mr Najib over his handling of a multi-billion dollar scandal tied to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The fund has been the subject of money-laundering investigations in countries such as the US, Switzerland and Singapore.- REUTERS