Singapore’s state media Straits Times today (May 7th) published a fake news in support of France’s Presidential candidate, Emmanuel Macron. Titled “French cast vote in Singapore for president, with Emmanuel Macron their favourite”, the Singapore media attempted to interfere with the French election by surveying 12 French citizens who have voted for Emmanuel Macron over Marine Le Pen.
Straits Times labelled French candidate Emmanuel Macron a “centrist” and “a favourite to win”. The Singapore papers even quoted an unknown “latest” poll claiming Emmanuel Macron is ready to win:
“Mr Macron, a former investment banker and economy minister, is favoured to win, with the latest polls showing his lead at about 62 per cent.”
The opposition candidate Marine Le Pen was criticised as “a far-right leader”. Straits Times also featured a fear-mongering view from one of the French citizens who voted against her:
“Marine Le Pen is playing off people’s fears. What happened with Trump and Brexit, we don’t want this for our country.”
Straits Times failed to point out that Marine Le Pen is pushing for a France exit out from Europe like Britain. Most French citizens actually had their lives worse off under European Union – unemployment rate is among the highest in Europe because French citizens do not get priority over EU immigrants – and many are supporting Marine Le Pen to leave the EU. Marine Le Pen pushes for French citizen-first and a clampdown on illegal immigrants and stop the intake of refugees from the Middle East. Her support base increased because many French are frustrated at the numerous of terrorist attacks in France – a clear sign that the refugee and immigration policies had allowed Islamist terrorists to enter the country and conduct havoc.
Emmanuel Macro is however for status quo, and this Presidential Election is actually one that decides whether France will get to leave the EU or not – instead of the usual political left-wing versus right-wing election.
Earlier last month, the Singapore government announced that it will be clamping down on fake news and foreign media influence. However, the Singapore government-controlled state media is contravening the rule and now interfering with the France’s Presidential Election. Given the number of overseas French voters in Singapore, Straits Times’ article to influence French voters is at best a hypocritical and malicious move by the Singapore government.
Straits Times is currently ranked 154th for credibility due to heavy intervention by the censorship ministry, the Ministry of Communication and Information. The national newspaper often run half truths as part of the propaganda effort to improve the ruling party government’s image. Propaganda has however intensified in recent years due to the increasing number of mistakes committed by the Lee Hsien Loong administration – with Ministers and MPs often getting called out for insensitive and inappropriate remarks.
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The Singapore government is now inventing new media laws to ban foreign media like States Times Review, which has been accused of being a “foreign weapon” to incite unrest among the Singaporean population. Law Minister K Shanmugam promised “new laws” will be created to handle the “fake news” website.