The PAP-controlled Select Committee is inviting the public to attend the public hearings on new censorship laws dealing with fake news. The committee is chaired by PAP MP Charles Chong, who himself is guilty of fabricating fake news to win his Punggol-East by-election in 2015. The PAP MP then published a flyer claiming that his opposition candidate misappropriated S$22.5 million. Independent auditor KPMG however cleared the WP town council of any wrongdoing.
The dates of hearings are as follow:
Dates: Wednesday to Friday, March 22 and 23, and March 27 to 29
Time: 11am on Wednesdays, 10am on Thursdays and Fridays
Venue: Parliament House – Public Hearing Room
According to the government, there were 164 written submissions but only 79 will be invited to speak. Among the responses, it is unknown how many have affiliations with the government. Academics in Singapore are highly dependent on the Singapore government for tenure renewal, like the civil servants and employees working in government-linked companies.
In Singapore, the biggest generator of fake news is the state media under the Singapore Press Holdings and Mediacorp. Propaganda and political agendas fill the headlines of Singapore’s state media, earning it an international ranking of 151st in press freedom.
The Singapore government intends to use new censorship laws to ban States Times Review, after it realises that they could not do anything to the website that is outside it’s jurisdiction. Despite covering Singapore news and being Singapore’s biggest independent news outlet, STR is an Australian website complying only Australian legislation. The authoritarian censorship laws of Singapore, which include placing a S$50,000 bond and complying ministry’s take-down order, do not apply to STR.