Laws to tackle fake news likely out next year

Minister K. Shanmugan delivering the opening address at Keep it Real: Truth and Trust in the Media, on June 19 2017.
Minister K. Shanmugan delivering the opening address at Keep it Real: Truth and Trust in the Media, on June 19 2017. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

New legislation to tackle fake news is in the works, and can be expected to be introduced next year.

The move, announced by Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam yesterday, follows his parliamentary statement in April that current laws for dealing with such falsehoods are limited.

Singapore officials had been to Europe, visiting Germany and Britain, to study measures these countries have taken or are planning to take to counter fake news, he said.

Consultations with stakeholders on the pending laws will be held in the second half of this year, he added.

Mr Shanmugam was speaking at the start of a two-day conference on fake news, Keep It Real: Truth And Trust In The Media, organised by The Straits Times and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.

Citing a survey of 1,617 Singapore residents conducted last month, he said that 91 per cent of them supported stronger laws to ensure fake news is removed or corrected.

Later, elaborating on the prospective legislation, he told reporters: "We know what the end point should be. It should be to de-legitimise fake news, help people identify what is and what is not fake news, and to deal with the perpetrators of fake news."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2017, with the headline 'Laws to tackle fake news likely out next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe