Singapore to introduce new law to prevent spread of fake news

The new Bill will give the Government the power to hold online news sources and platforms accountable if they proliferate deliberate falsehoods, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. (Bloomberg pic)

SINGAPORE: Singapore is planning to introduce a law to halt the spread of “fake news,” asking websites to correct erroneous information or even remove articles in extreme cases, according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The bill is expected to give more power to the government to hold online outlets more accountable if they’re deemed to have deliberately delivered false news.

The measures will include requiring them to show corrections or display warnings about online falsehoods so that readers or viewers can see all sides and come to their own conclusions.

“We are open and English speaking, our mobile and internet penetration rate is high, and being a multiracial, multi-ethnic society, we have enduring fault lines that can be easily exploited,” Lee said in a speech at an event Friday posted on the prime minister’s office website.

“If we do not protect ourselves, hostile parties will find it a simple matter to turn different groups against one another and cause disorder in our society.”

The city-state lashed out at social media giant Facebook last year, calling the company unreliable after it declined a request to remove a post that linked the premier and Singapore with allegations related to embattled Malaysian state fund 1MDB.

The government said then that Facebook’s decision to not remove malicious information on the country shows the need for legislation.