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Singapore plans sweeping fake news law

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:05s - Published < > Embed
Singapore plans sweeping fake news law

Singapore plans sweeping fake news law

Singapore submits a wide-ranging fake news bill in parliament, stoking fears from internet firms like Facebook and human rights groups that it may give the government too much power and hinder freedom of speech.

Jayson Albano reports.

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Singapore plans sweeping fake news law

Singapore's waging a war against fake news.

But human rights groups say it reaches so far, that free speech is at risk.

On Monday (April 2) the city-state submitted new laws in parliament which would require sites like Facebook to carry warnings on posts that the government deems false.

It would also force them to remove comments that go against quote 'public interest'.

Singapore says free speech won't be harmed - and that opinion won't be touched.

However Internet firms and activists argue the laws put too much power in the hands of officials.

Reuters' Fathin Ungku is in Singapore.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, FATHIN UNGKU, SAYING: "I think the primary concerns about this new law - which is mostly coming from internet watchdogs - rights groups and even the big tech companies - is the room for abuse by governments - because they are the ones that are deciding what is fact and what is not.

According to the Asia internet coalition, these laws are the most extensive ones to date.

The most extensive fake news laws they've seen.

And according to them, these have severe ramifications not only to Singapore alone but to countries all around the world." This week Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg published an op-ed on the Washington Post calling on governments to play a more active role in regulating the online platform.

However, after Singapore's fake news bill, Facebook says its concerned about quote "the aspect of the law that grants broad powers to the Singapore executive branch to compel us to remove content they deem to be false." (SOUNDBITE)(English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, FATHIN UNGKU, SAYING: "For companies like Facebook and Twitter, which would have to comply to the new laws - if they are being passed - or face hefty fines.

The Ministry of Law also said that if an online media site - online media platform would publish falsehoods 3 times in the last six months, they would cut off the company's ability to profit.

But it did not say how it would do that." For those breaking the planned laws the fine would be about $740,000 dollars and jail sentences of up to 10 years.

The bill still needs to be voted on by Singapore's parliament.



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