15 May 2019

How will Singapore's leaders use its new Fake News law?

On 8 May 2019, the Singapore parliament passed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulations bill into law. As of the time of the publication of this blog post, either the president has not given her assent or the minister has not made the decision to commence the law in the Gazette.

We noted earlier that even though the ruling People's Action Party has a supermajority which ensures the passage of any bill proposed by the cabinet, the key issues have always been whether the cabinet can gain the confidence of stakeholders and industry interests in the bill, whether there will be corrections or clarifications of the more unsettling portions of the bill, and whether the bill passed would satisfy that audience.

Power is power, or is it? The power to pass laws is absolute power, or is it?
A snapshot of attitudes, comments, and actions from stakeholders and members of the industry in the run-up to the debate suggest that clarifications at the very least had to be made and made convincingly, especially if no corrections or U-turns could be afforded by the cabinet on the bill.

So did the parliamentary debate provide suitable clarification to gain the confidence of industry interests and stakeholders?