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Singapore begins landmark public listening to on pretend information

SINGAPORE: Singapore on Wednesday started a public listening to on find out how to sort out the specter of pretend information, with audio system suggesting measures starting from blocking web sites to balancing the pursuits of nationwide safety and free speech.

The rich city-state is among the many international locations trying to introduce laws to rein in pretend information, a pattern that has stirred concern that such legal guidelines might be used to exert authorities management over media. A panel set as much as think about doable measures, together with laws, drew 164 written responses from the general public, a document for reactions to such a committee on any situation.

“Often times, and understandably so, there are worries about how it may stifle the freedom of speech,” Carol Quickly, a specialist in communications and new media on the Nationwide College of Singapore, mentioned of the laws.

There needs to be “fine balancing of the interests of protecting national security and public order and the interests of enabling people to speak up and have a meaningful discussion pertaining to governance”, she added.

She was amongst 79 individuals requested to talk in parliament over the eight days set for the listening to, which might make it the longest in Singapore’s historical past. Lots of the examples of pretend information cited in a Singapore authorities paper on deliberate on-line falsehoods revealed in January got here from overseas. Nonetheless, the federal government mentioned Singapore was weak due to its place as a worldwide monetary hub, its combined ethnic and spiritual inhabitants and residents’ widespread web entry.

Singapore, which ranks 151 amongst 180 international locations rated within the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters With out Borders, a non-government group that promotes freedom of data.

“Deliberate online falsehoods are a serious global problem,” panel chairman Charles Chong, the deputy speaker of parliament, mentioned firstly of the listening to, including that they affected Singapore in many various methods. Different audio system urged the Singapore panel to take agency motion in opposition to pretend information.

Mathew Mathews, a social coverage researcher on the Nationwide College of Singapore, proposed that the federal government “stop the access of the local population to media sites which feature deliberate online falsehoods that threaten Singapore’s social harmony”.
Others felt such motion could be ineffective.

“It is no longer possible to stop ‘fake news’ simply by blocking websites or publications because social media utilises person-to-person sharing,” mentioned Andre Ahchak, communications director within the workplace of Singapore’s Roman Catholic archbishop.

International entities, such because the European Values Suppose-Tank and the Ukraine Disaster Media Centre, are as a result of make shows later within the week.

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