Singapore considering plans to tackle fake news
Singapore’s Minister of Law K Shanmugam says the government is conducting a review of fake news in Singapore and will make recommendations on how to address the issue.
Speaking in parliament on April 3rd, Mr Shanmugam said that current laws were likely outdated and needed to be reviewed: “It is an offence under the Telecommunications Act to transmit messages knowing it is false. But these remedies are ineffective. They were really looking at a time before this new age. The circulation of falsehoods can grow viral today very quickly, and so we need to do more.”
Mr Shanmugam cited websites like the now defunct The Real Singapore, the States Times Review and All Singapore Stuff as websites that regularly generated fake news for profit.
Fake news has become a global issue, most notably in the United States where Russia allegedly carried out a fake news campaign to influence the outcome of last year’s presidential election. There are now concerns that Russia could also try to influence upcoming elections in France and Germany.
Mr Shanmugam warned that fake news could pose a serious threat to governments and society: “There is a much more serious dimension to all of this,” he said. “Fake news today, we must assume can be used as an offensive weapon by foreign agencies and foreign governments to get into the public mind, to destabilise the public, to psychologically weaken them.”
In response to the phenomena, established and reputable international news publications have in recent months sought to differentiate themselves from fake news providers as trusted sources of news.
The New York Times’ most recent subscription campaign leads with “Truth. It’s grounded in facts. Discover it with us”. The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, promises “Real news. Real Journalism.”
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