Crackdown On Fake News
Amidst all of the hoo-ha surrounding the Lee family dispute, Minister of Law K. Shanmugam has announced that Singapore will be clamping down on fake news in Singapore.
Singapore’s cyberspace will be soon be managed by new laws, with the dissemination of fake news a key issue being tackled.
New Laws In 2018
Mr Shanmugam was speaking at an event co-organized by The Straits Times (ST) and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA):
“In some way, (the legislation has) got to achieve working with technological platforms to de-legitimise fake news, to help people identify what is fake news. And then where it is done with malice or for-profit, or deliberately spreading fake news, we have to find ways in which it is dealt with and the people who spread such fake news are also dealt with.”
New laws are set to be implemented next year.
The State Of News In Singapore
In Singapore it seems that most of our local media is directly or indirectly controlled by the Government, according to Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s grandson Li Shengwu:
While our local news outlets are known to publish only well-sourced news, there’s criticism of how they can be selective about the news they cover. Here, it is important to differentiate between the slant of reporting vs the truthfulness of the reporting.
For example, while the local media’s slants are obvious and can be faulted based on the difference in reporting compared to international media over the Lee family dispute, it holds itself to a higher standard and does not publish fake news.
Fake News vs Slanted News
Mr Shanmugam cited United Kingdom as a prime example for Singapore to follow. They have a committee involving Members of Parliaments to help regulate such laws, deciding if fake news and inappropriate content spread by social networking websites should be held liable to them.
It is good that measures are being taken to quash fake news in Singapore, but one must know the difference between fake news and slanted news.
Alternative news sites, in particular, will be keeping a close eye on how these new regulations will play out.