The new law, which passed the first reading on Sept. 18, would criminalize libel and defamation. Steep fines and jail terms of up to five years would be introduced for those who “deliberately spread libel.”
The law would leave it up to a judge to determine whether an accused person or news organization has deliberately broadcast or published knowingly false information about a person, constituting slander or libel. Moreover, the offending journalist could be banned from the profession for up to three years after the prison sentence.
The law would affect all citizens, but the measures proposed against journalists are the most severe.