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Why M’sia needs a Fake News Law but S’pore doesn’t

In Malaysia on 17/05/2018 at 11:00 am

When the law was first mooted in KL

The law was met with horror from activists and journalists, who say that the bill will simply be another way for the government to crack down on dissent and suppress embarrassing stories. Amnesty International said it was a “blatant attempt to shield the government from peaceful criticism”. Lawyers For Liberty, a local free speech NGO which is representing Syarul Ema, called it “the death knell for freedom of speech”.

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/election-malaysia-2018-general-fake-news-day-2008-syarul-ema

Well Tun M was being investigated under that law when he was oppo leader. But the Sith Lord turned Jedi Grand Master, when he became PM said the law will be reviewed and tweaked not revoked.

Here’s why there’s a need in M’sia for such a law

Just in the last 12 months, the police have had to debunk rumours that Chinese government patrol cars were operating in Malaysia; shoppers have boycotted shoe company Bata Primavera after a false report that it was stocking shoes with ‘Allah’ written on the soles; and the owner of the local McDonald’s franchise has filed police reports against social media users wrongly claiming the company was funding Israel’s actions against Palestine.

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/election-malaysia-2018-general-fake-news-day-2008-syarul-ema

(Related post: Fake news law: Malays not stupid)

As to S’pore, i wrote shumetime back

Our brown-nosing constructive nation-building academics presented at the recent Select Committee hearings on Deliberate Online Falsehoods,

an alarming scenario of disinformation campaigns launched by foreign actors bent on attacking the island state, of cyber armies in neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore working as proxies for other countries in undermining national security.

Did they produce any evidence?

But the actual examples of fake news which have come up during this national debate have mostly been prosaic; a hoax photo showing a collapsed roof at a housing complex, which sent officials rushing unnecessarily to the scene; and an erroneous report of a collision between two trains on the light rail transit line.

As the BBC reporter wrote

Irritating and worrying for some, for a while, but hardly likely to bring Singapore society to its knees. In any case both Singapore and Malaysia already have plenty of laws capable of penalising false, inflammatory or defamatory comment.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-43637744

Btw, have to tell u that the reporter also said

It also gave Singapore academics and officials an opportunity to snipe at the US belief in free expression, the “marketplace of ideas”, which had allowed the abuse of personal data on Facebook to take place, in contrast to Singapore’s “better safe than sorry” belief in a more tightly regulated society.

Local academics propogate fake news?

Related article: Why I no ak the Select Committee hearings on Deliberate Online Falsehoods

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  1. That particular FB case was not about fake news per se — it was misuse & breach of personal data i.e. privacy issue. That it was subsequently misused to facilitate fake news or psychological influencing is incidental. It could have been used for financial theft, blackmail, fraud, impersonation, or any of 1001 other stuff.

    The problem in S’pore is that govt is the entity that holds & controls the biggest confidential individual personal dataset, combined with a culture of treating personal privacy & rights as secondary at best, and socially / administratively / legally disruptive at worst. The govt basically uses laws & regulations to give itself carte blanche to determine how & what personal data collection/use is ok, and who is ok doing it.

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