As the issue on media credibility and censorship remains one of the most controversial topics not only in Singapore, but all over the world, the proposed anti-fake news bill currently being deliberated by the government has drawn major concerns and questions among press rights advocates, not only in the local scene, but also in the international spectrum.
And while the curtailment of speech or expression (especially of hate) is the main concern of the proposed law, the concerns arise from the possibility of the legislation to overstep the citizens’ freedom of speech against the government, or other relevant social issues, as well.
PM Lee Addresses Concerns Over Proposed New Bill Against Fake News
However, in his speech at a two-day leaders’ retreat in Malaysia, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, shed light on the concerns raised against the proposed law, noting that the legislation “works for Singapore,” as shared in a report by The Independent.
PM Lee was asked several questions about the new legislation at a press conference he was a part of in Malaysia last April 9 (Tuesday).
Criticisms were aired by the Reporters Without Borders, citing that the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill (POFMB) was “Orwellian” as it can also be considered a major obstacle to the freedom to inform in the Republic.
However, PM Lee was no longer shocked by this criticism as according to him, they [Reporters Without Borders] criticize many things about Singapore’s media management.
PM Lee further explained that what the government has done was for the benefit and greater good of Singapore, in which the POFMB will be a big contributor to. The state head also pointed out that the issue on fake news is not only a problem for which Singapore has created legislation to, but it is also an emerging issue faced by many countries all over the world.
Owing to the fact that many citizens are not responsible enough in using social media, a law that would keep this fact in check should help address the spread of fake news in the country, PM Lee explained.
In recent years, the free use of the internet has been a big source of debates and discussions, especially with the involvement of governing bodies as to what and how much information can be spread in a certain country or region to ensure national security and peace and order.