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Singapore uses “anti-fake news” law to eliminate public debate

first_img Coronavirus: State measures must not allow surveillance of journalists and their sources RSF_en SingaporeAsia – Pacific Online freedomsMedia independenceProtecting sources InternetCitizen-journalistsWhistleblowersFreedom of expressionExiled mediaPredatorsJudicial harassment Each “corrected” item is displayed with the word “FALSE” stamped on it in large red letters (image: DB / RSF). SingaporeAsia – Pacific Online freedomsMedia independenceProtecting sources InternetCitizen-journalistsWhistleblowersFreedom of expressionExiled mediaPredatorsJudicial harassment October 15, 2020 Find out more to go further October 2, 2020 Find out more April 10, 2020 Find out more A second directive was issued two days later, this time by law and home affairs minister K. Shanmugan. It ordered Alex Tan, a journalist responsible for the States Times Review blog on Facebook, to “correct” an article reporting that a whistleblower had been arrested in Singapore in connection with revelations about a ruling party candidate. RSF’s denounces Singapore’s disregard of press freedom ahead of its Universal Periodic Review December 6, 2019 Singapore uses “anti-fake news” law to eliminate public debate “The Singaporean government’s recourse to this ‘anti-fake news’ law is a very worrying violation of journalistic pluralism and independence,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. Singaporean website prosecuted over election coverage “In both of these cases the authorities could have disputed the claims they disagreed with and, in the process, could have contributed to the public debate, which is what happens in a democracy. Instead, the city-state government preferred to impose its own vision of the ‘facts.’ In so doing, it acted exactly like an Orwellian Ministry of Truth and, on the grounds of preventing online manipulation, simply imposed its own manipulation of public opinion.” “Ministry of Truth”center_img After Tan, who lives in Sydney, refused to comply, the government pressured Facebook to take down the student web page that Tan cited as a source. Facing a possible fine of 1 million Singaporean dollars (660,000 euros), Facebook did remove the page, albeit on the grounds that it violated its “authenticity policies” – because it had allegedly misused the official student union’s name. News News Receive email alerts News Follow the news on Singapore The “corrections” are posted on a government web page called “Factually” that was up and running as soon as the law, the Protection from Online Falsehood and Manipulation Act (POFMA), took effect in October. This page claims to present the “correct facts” as opposed to what the law calls “online falsehoods and manipulation” and displays  each “corrected” item with the word “FALSE” stamped on it in large red letters. News Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by the totalitarian aspects of Singapore’s new, highly controversial “anti-fake news” law, under which the authorities issued two directives ordering “corrections” to Facebook posts within the space of a week. Last April, RSF published an analysis of the draft version of this law, saying it had the potential to be a horrifying tool for censorship and intimidation. Singapore is ranked 151st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index. The first directive was sent by the finance minister on 21 November to an opposition politician who had posted a note on Facebook questioning the investments made by two Singaporean sovereign wealth funds. It forced him to post a “Correction notice” at the top of his post with a link to the government web page with the “correct facts.” Help by sharing this information Organisation last_img read more