Speaking at a ruling party PAP grassroots arm People’s Association (PA) event, Minister Chan Chun Sing proclaimed that the PA grassroots leaders are “trusted” sources of information against fake news. The former army general who is poised to be the next Prime Minister said that the PA members can be trusted because “they are on the ground”:
“Fake news has the potential to split communities apart, to divide the people from the Government, and to divide the people from each other. To counter this, people need to be educated so that they take responsibility when forwarding messages, verifying information before doing so. Then there’s also the community effort, where we must come together to verify some of this information, to provide the cross-check for each other. A verified, trusted source of information is needed and community leaders can play a useful part because they are on the ground and they know the situation.”
Minister Chan Chun Sing then said that there are too many groups of Singaporeans pushing for a cause, and as a result cause harm to Singapore’s “harmony”. Calling the development a concern, the millionaire minister said they should have a “sense of perspective” when campaigning their causes:
“Another challenge is the plethora of causes in society, which are championed by different groups of people. Each in itself is good. The challenge here is for each group to have a sense of perspective of the overall challenges facing the country so that when they champion their respective causes, it is within the context of helping the country to move forward together as one.”
The Singapore government is however the primary creator of fake news, with its state media ranking 153rd in the world for credibility. Alongside the use of propaganda news is media censorship and legislation, that have repeatedly haul critics up for defamation lawsuits and contempt of court charges.
With the coming General Election in 2019, the dictatorship is looking to ban criticisms and media content that do not favour the ruling party.