Photo of K Shanmugam from AFP

In his Parliament speech yesterday (Jan 10), Law Minister K Shanmugam went full fork-tongued claiming that government censorship enables freedom of speech.

“I think most Singaporeans would agree that free, online debate, including the expression of critical comments, should not be predicated on deliberate falsehoods… In fact, keeping falsehoods out of our discourse enables freedom of speech to be meaningfully exercised.”

The Minister was responding to questions whether more government censorship will repress freedom of speech further than it already has. PAP MPs Lee Bee Wah and Zaqy Mohamad stepped up the hypocrisy a level higher, saying that the government is not trying to “silence the critics”:

“The citizens must not lose that freedom to (criticise), feedback and put points of views across as long as they are based on truths and not deliberately pushing falsehoods.”

Most PAP MPs like MP Seah Kian Peng however expressed full support of censorship, claiming that it “safeguards” freedom of speech because Singaporeans “can’t be bothered” with the government-published “truths”:

“Countering falsehoods is a way of safeguarding freedom of speech. We have a duty to ensure…that the marketplace of public discourse is not crowded out by falsehoods. In the post-truth era, even when facts are presented to debunk falsehoods, many people still opt to believe the latter.Just throwing all the ‘data’ we have into a pot and then leaving people to distinguish between good and bad information makes the assumption that people have both the time and capacity to do this…Most people can’t be bothered.”