Global Affairs

Slaying the fake news monster

As examples from Texas to Syria show, the creation of falsehoods often starts early and works to change the narrative. New powers are needed to tackle this multi-headed, evolving threat.

ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

Singapore's debate about how to defend the nation from deliberate falsehoods peddled online - otherwise commonly known as fake news - is proceeding along almost identical lines to the debates held in most other developed countries on the topic: a lack of consensus about how acute the problem really is, sharply divided opinions on whether new legislation is required or whether existing government powers are sufficient to deal with all eventualities, and, of course, the inevitable accusations that the entire effort is merely a smokescreen for stifling the media and free expression.

But judging by the experience of many European countries that have already fought these verbal battles, certain conclusions are already evident.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2018, with the headline 'Slaying the fake news monster '. Subscribe