No need for new laws to tackle fake news

The possibility of the introduction of new rules to counter fake news is disconcerting (Govt reviews how to tackle fake news; April 4).

Individuals in Singapore have been jailed for offences related to fake news (TRS co-founder gets eight months' jail; June 29, 2016).

There are obviously sufficient laws to deal with the problem.

I fear that new legislation will prove to be a setback for mainstream and citizen journalism.

Legislating fake news could lead us down the path of a dictatorship, if opposing political views are brushed aside by simply dismissing them as fake news.

Some people may label facts that they do not agree with as fake news, so something that is labelled as such today may eventually emerge as being true.

I fear that new legislation to counter fake news will prove to be a setback to mainstream and citizen journalism.

If that is the case, would the law compensate an individual who is tried and punished for publishing fake news that later turns out to be true?

Will the accusers be punished for falsely claiming that something was fake news?

If there are to be new laws to counter fake news, there should also be legislation to counter false claims of fake news.

Chan Yeow Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2017, with the headline 'No need for new laws to tackle fake news'. Print Edition | Subscribe