Photo of K Shanmugam from TodayOnline

Law Minister K Shanmugam today (Mar 15) enjoyed the echoes by government-paid academics calling for more censorship laws. A fake “national security expert” Shashi Jayakumar from government institution RSIS said that the government should make the state media “pre-eminent news sources” in Singapore again.

“Ways should be found to help newspapers The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao again be seen as the pre-eminent news sources, bar none, in the eyes of the Singapore public. While numerous amateur blogs and forums which have sprung up which to some degree provide commentary over Singapore-related issues, their coverage is patchy and none of these platforms can be considered a serious, consistent news source.”

Straits Times and the state media lost credibility in recent years after independent news sites exposed the fake news and propaganda articles generated. According to an independent survey, Singapore’s state media is ranked 151st in the world for press freedom.

The government scholar then said “more should be done to shore up trust” for the Singapore dictatorship, and that Singaporeans should help to brainwash each other to trust the single party government.

Law Minister K Shanmugam poured praises for Shashi Jayakumar saying he “could not agree more”. The two Indians sang in unison calling for more censorship and the need for “active government intervention”:

“That’s not going to be done by some rules or regulations or laws … You have to have state agencies do that and you probably need a kind of legal framework to make clear whatever you have outlawed in the physical world you also have outlawed online. One thing that has come through is, you’re going to need active intervention by human agencies, Government as well as non-government.”

This is the second day of the public hearing for the Select Committee on Online Falsehoods. All government scholars proposed stricter censorship laws in the past two days, with no one opposing the government. Law Minister K Shanmugam, despite being only a member of the committee, leads all the discussions and kept repeating his support for censorship even though he is supposed to be neutral.