Lee Hsien Loong’s administration today will be passing new censorship laws, called the ‘Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill’, to give its government greater police powers and impose heavier penalties on fake news fabricators and peddlers.
As Singapore’s leading proponent of media literacy, Singapore Herald fully support this new law and we totally understand the severity of fake news as an effective propaganda tool to mislead the population (hence this website’s existence). However the white elephant in the room boils down to who gets to decide what is fake news.
Unfortunately, the Singapore government cannot be trusted. Neither its police or judiciary could be relied on to deliver independent investigations and judgements, especially on political matters. The dictatorship may create another fake “independent” committee, but the trust remains absent.
Since Independence, the ruling party PAP dictatorship has a record of abusing court process through creative interpretation of the legislation, and manipulating the media to serve as propaganda. The spread of propaganda fake news in Singapore is rampant, so much that its mainstream media is ranked 151st in the world for press freedom.
Trusting the Singapore dictatorship with the absolute power to decide what is true or false, would be yet another sacrifice of what little freedom is left of Singaporeans.
It is now certain that the new censorship laws will be passed. More powerful than any ceremonial king of their own land, Lee Hsien Loong has undisputed dictatorial powers in Singapore. After all, Lee Hsien Loong’s words are absolute: if he wanted to do anything, who is there is to stop him anyway. He could even turn an Indian ethnic into a Malay, and called for the world’s first race-based presidential election. Singaporeans can complain, within his allowed tolerance of course, or they will be facing criminal charges.
The new censorship law simply allows the government to ban opposing opinions and present one-sided arguments. The little space for a debate is now non-existent, for any argument criticising the government becomes fake news.
Now that we are certain Singapore have new censorship laws, more Singaporeans are expected to be jailed and fined for sharing links on Facebook.
Propaganda news in Straits Times and CNA will be unchallenged, and anyone who dare post a criticism on Facebook would be arrested for spreading falsehoods. Singapore’s future is not a free world but that of a totalitarian state. A dystopia where only ‘the right things’ can be said and heard.
There is no saving to this country, it will degenerate further so long the ruling party remains in power. It is sorrowful to see that future generations of Singaporeans will be groomed to dissolve their inherent sense of right or wrong, and the many young people who would be severely punished for being morally upright.