For the second time in 4 days, the Minister of Home Affairs K Shanmugam, has instructed the POFMA office to invoke the fake news law to correct false statements in a post on the FB page States Times Review. This came after the POFMA was unleashed for the first time on Monday on opposition party member Brad Bowyer.
POFMA was passed in parliament in May earlier this year. Despite what the government says about protecting citizens from fake news, it is all their way of pushing down a draconian law that has the potential to stifle and kill authentic contrarian views and any point of view that the government doesn't agree with. Here are what other prominent academics, human rights advocates and even a former PAP MP have to say about POFMA.
A group of activists will be holding an event discussing the POFMA Bill and its impact on free speech in Singapore. Many people have been up in arms ever since the Bill was passed. Will it do more harm than good? Is it a means to curb fake news or is it only a tool to suppress free speech? What do you think?
Workers' Party MP Denis Tan voiced his concerns over the chilling effect the POFMA Bill would have in Singapore, when speaking out in Parliament against the Fake News bill. He cited concerns over the lack of clarity over what would constitute “in the public interest” under the law as some of the definitions provided were too general or lacked a precise scope
Senior Minister of State For Law, Edwin Tong has come forward to defend POFMA against what appears to be attacks, in his own words, from “a small group crying wolf.” This was in reference to online criticism of the POFMA, or the Fake News Bill.
3 NMPs have filed a Notice of Amendment to the POFMA in which they outlined various improvements they want to see in the Bill. They proposed that the relevant Minister must explain why something is considered a falsehood and why certain actions have to be taken. They also suggested for an independent council to oversee the decision-making process so that online falsehoods can be countered better and fairer. The next Parliament sitting is on 6 May. Will the people in power bother to listen? Singaporeans will wait and see.