K Shanmugam; CNA

When questioned by the media how the government is going to define fake news, Law Minister K Shanmugam said that Singaporeans will only need to refer to the government for “facts”:

“You can define what is true and what is false when you refer to facts.”

The dictatorship hardliner minister also displayed his fork-tongued skills by claiming that Singaporeans can have more free speech with censorship than be “restricted” by what is false:

“The primary approach of the new legislation — to direct online news sites to publish corrections alongside false statements — encourages free speech because there are more viewpoints for you to have rather than be restricted and what is said to be just false. So, I don’t see how it affects free speech.”

Several international press reporters also questioned if the new censorship laws will be abused by the PAP dictatorship, since it gets to decide which content is false and what punishment to impose. Law Minister K Shanmugam claimed that the aggrieved victim can always refer to government websites ‘for the truth’:

“If the person who has put it out feels that what he or she has said is true, challenge it. And anyway, it’s not as if, primarily, he or she is required to take it down. So, what is the abuse? Furthermore, online news sources carrying fake news would be asked to publish corrections and direct readers to other platforms ‘for the truth’. How is that an abuse… In fact, it’s calibrated to allow for a more informed discussion on issues.”

Another international press reporter then questioned what happens if the government is the one spreading fake news. Law Minister responded claiming that citizens can sue the government in the Singapore court:

“In such situations, individuals can sue the Government through the defamation laws, for instance.”