Home News Singapore PM defends 'fake news' law after storm of criticism

Singapore PM defends ‘fake news’ law after storm of criticism




- Advertisement -

Singapore’s leader insisted Tuesday his government’s proposed fake news laws were a “step forward” in fighting online falsehoods after they sparked criticism from press freedom groups and tech giants.

But his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad, who has long had a prickly relationship with the neighbouring city-state, told a joint press conference he was worried that governments could abuse such laws.

Singapore — widely criticised for restricting free speech and clamping down on political rights — last week unveiled tough measures to fight fake news.

These included powers for ministers to order sites like Facebook, Google and Twitter to put warnings next to posts authorities deem false, and in extreme cases get them removed, as well as fines and jail terms in serious cases.

- Advertisement -

Speaking during a visit to Malaysia, Prime Minister said that fake news was a “serious problem” and other countries including France, Germany and Australia were legislating to combat it.

Singapore’s proposed laws “will be a significant step forward”, he added. “We’ve deliberated on this now for almost two years… What we have done has worked for Singapore, it is our objective to continue to do things which will work for Singapore.”

Rights groups warn Singapore’s proposed fake news laws could be used to stifle online discussion, are too vague and may be used to target government critics, while Facebook and other tech giants have expressed concerns.

But Mahathir, speaking alongside Lee at a press conference, noted that his government planned to repeal a widely criticised Malaysian law aimed at combating fake news.

- Advertisement -

“When we have a law that prevents people from airing their views, then we are afraid that the government itself may abuse the law,” he told reporters in the administrative capital Putrajaya.

Mahathir’s administration is pushing to repeal the legislation, which was pushed through parliament by the previous, corruption-plagued regime, but efforts have stalled after the opposition-controlled upper house refused to back its abolition.


© Agence France-PresseFollow us on Social Media

- Advertisement -

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg 

- Advertisement -

Another ‘Badge Lady’? Maskless woman asks doctor for his ID when he asks her to wear a mask

Singapore -- A woman refusing to wear a mask at a condominium shouted at and abused a doctor who asked her to put one on. In a video circulated on Sunday (June 13) on WhatsApp Messenger, a maskless woman who was walking...

S’porean wakes up to flooded home on multiple occasions thanks to cat leaving tap running

Singapore – A Singaporean man has woken up to find his home flooded twice after his pet cat left the water running. While cats typically dislike water, it appears that the Russian Blues in a particular household in Singapore wish to turn...

Mixed marriages or couplehood: Do you care what Tan Boon Lee or Lee Kuan Yew had to say?

Is the hoo-ha over the Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturer just a storm in the multi-racial teacup which will subside and be forgotten as swiftly as it has flared up? Or, as some cynics may say, is it all an engineered diversion...
Follow us on Social Media

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg