Fake News Law Appeal Process Will Be Fast And Inexpensive, Says Shanmugam

The fake news law, or Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation (POFMA), which takes effect on 2 Oct allows ministers to order the takedown of or request the amendment of information they deem false.

However, according to Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, if a piece of information you put out is deemed fake news by a minister, you can appeal against the decision for about $200.

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Also, the appeal process can take as short as 9 days, which includes the 2 working days given to a minister to decide whether to allow the appeal.

Ministers have to explain why the content is fake news

Mr Shanmugam said that a minister will have to explain why he or she thinks a piece of information is false if he is ordering for it to be taken down or for amendments to made to it.

He had said this in response to concerns in parliament of whether the accused would learn of why the content they had put out was considered fake news.

This criterion was set out in the bill that was passed in parliament earlier in May this year.

Fake news law should not be feared

Mr Shanmugam has repeatedly said that the fake news law will only tackle facts, not opinions. This means you will still be free to express your opinions. It’s really not like we’re suddenly going turn into the plot-line for 1984 as how overseas media seem to see it.

Fake news can be very, very dangerous if spread around. And with the Internet, it is extremely easy to spread fake news and mislead people. This is why the government has to step in.

For example, a video titled “Mass Brawl Breaks Out At Jurong Shipyard” just went viral on 1 Oct, suggesting that violence had occurred at Jurong Shipyard.

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This was immediately debunked by the Singapore Police Force on Facebook, saying this did not happen in Singapore. Now that POFMA is in effect, more measures can be taken by the authorities to limit the spread of such disinformation, ensuring videos like this don’t circulate and cause unnecessary tension.

What do you this of POFMA and the appeal process? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured image adapted from YouTube.