Panel hears views on necessity of new laws to tackle falsehoods

Interview with Mr Charles Chong, chairman of select committee on deliberate online falsehoods.
Interview with Mr Charles Chong, chairman of select committee on deliberate online falsehoods. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Yesterday's parliamentary Select Committee hearing went on for 11 hours, with academics, media literacy groups and civil society members giving their views on whether new laws are needed to tackle online falsehoods.

Some agreed that legal muscle was the only way to get technology giants to do something about the problem, while others cautioned against legislation that would create new classes of illegal speech.

The panel of MPs and ministers engaged in robust exchanges that stretched on for hours at times.

The day had started with committee chairman Charles Chong apologising for scheduling changes, after some representatives took to Facebook to question the committee's sincerity over the changes.

Thanking them for accommodating the changes, he said that these were inevitable with the large numbers of people involved, and also "some points needed more elaboration while others were sufficiently ventilated".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2018, with the headline 'Panel hears views on necessity of new laws to tackle falsehoods'. Print Edition | Subscribe