Many people have been up in arms ever since the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill was passed. Academics, both local and foreign alike, have signed a letter against the Bill as they worry that it will affect their research. Journalists, activists and ordinary Singaporeans have also voiced concerns against the Bill.
The main gripe was that the Bill unnecessarily controls freedom of speech and bestows upon Ministers wide ranging powers to decide what constitutes falsehoods. Singaporeans are not sure anymore if the aim of POFMA is to curb fake news or to suppress free speech.
Due to the unhappiness surrounding the Bill, a group of activists are organising an event called “POFMA: More Harm Than Good?” at Sin Ming to discuss the issue. The event will take place on 18 May and features speakers like James Gomez, a communications and human rights specialist who has worked with several NGOs, Khush Chopra, a non-practising lawyer and commentator on national issues, and Brad Bowyer, a media veteran and political activist.
To what extent must Singaporeans go to convince the government that the Bill is not well-received? Why are they going ahead despite so many people being up in arms?
Ministers are not arbiters of truth! Singaporeans know this for sure but it seems like the ministers do not know it at all.