Singapore’s leading propaganda fake news, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and Mediacorp, saw their media credibility standing sank further this year, with it’s global ranking at 151st – next to third world countries like Congo, Iraq, Somalia and Bangladesh. The annual press freedom ranking conducted by Reports Without Borders (RSF) pointed out in it’s report that the Singapore government actively sue journalists into bankruptcy or jail them under the Sedition Act.
RSF noted that the Singapore government is intolerant and demand writers to self-censor themselves. The independent press freedom watchdog also reported that the Singapore government is now proposing a new law to censor any news under the guise of fighting “fake news”:
“Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s government reacts quickly to criticism from journalists and does not hesitate to sue them, apply pressure to make them unemployable, or even force them to leave the country. The Media Development Authority has the power to censor all forms of journalistic content. Defamation suits are common in the city-state and may sometimes be accompanied by a charge of sedition, which is punishable by up to 21 years in prison. As a result of judicial and financial pressure from the authorities, self-censorship is widespread, including within the alternative independent media. The red lines imposed by the authorities, known by journalists as “OB markers” (for out-of-bounds markers), apply to an ever-wider range of issues and public figures. As in many southeast Asian countries, governmental plans to legislate against “fake news” are seen as a threat to the freedom to inform. A proposed law that would allow the police to search homes and electronic devices without a warrant poses a grave threat to the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.”
In 2015, The Real Singapore editors – Ai Takagi and Yang Kaiheng – faced a maximum of 21 years in prison over sedition charges, and were subsequently jailed 8 and 10 months. In the same year, blogger Roy Ngerng was ordered to pay S$150,000 in defamation charges to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong over a number of articles covering CPF in-depth.
Law Minister K Shanmugam has previously labelled States Times Review as a “fake news”, but unfortunately the baseless accusation did the opposite of bringing away readership from the Australia-based news site.