Take care with news that affects reputations

Nobody should object to the exposing and expunging of fake news (Good news: Help in spotting fake news coming soon; June 21).

Fake news can cause alarm, distress and inconvenience, affect safety and compromise a company or person's reputation.

It is easy for the authorities to deal with fake news designed to cause alarm and, if necessary, arrest the rumour-monger.

But a piece of news crafted to tarnish a name can be very damaging.

How do we verify reports about someone's "unsavoury" past?

In the run-up to last year's United States presidential election, and even today, there were many reports of candidates' ugly pasts and unglamorous, shocking and unappealing happenings involving them and their families.

These reports may not matter, as they are the concern of Americans. But if such reports happen in Singapore, then it does matter.

This is an area that we should be concerned with. All those involved must establish facts before spreading any reports.

Daniel Chan Wai Piew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2017, with the headline 'Take care with news that affects reputations'. Print Edition | Subscribe