Sweeping law against misinformation . . .
Singapore passed a controversial law earlier this week to criminalize the publication and spreading of fake news, while subjecting online public speeches and even private chats to state surveillance. This makes Singapore the only Asian state that legislates online policing of misinformation and is seen by many as a threat to freedom of speech.
Between freedom and control . . .
Singapore’s move stands in contrast with other Asian states, such as Malaysia, which repealed its own anti-fake news law just four months after its introduction last year. While the Singaporean government says the rationale behind this new law is to prevent “political disorder,” it could also signal a move by Singapore toward a stronger authoritarian state.
The Canadian struggle . . .
Singapore’s move could backfire as criticisms mount, both domestically and internationally. Public sentiment in Singapore and social and political fallout could offer lessons for Canada as we face our own struggles with fake news, particularly as evidence mounts that foreign campaigns are already trying to influence the outcome of our federal election in October.
- BBC: Singapore fake news law polices chats and online platforms
- CNN: Malaysia repeals controversial fake news law
- Centre for International Governance Innovation: Fake News Threatens Canada's Federal Election