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Singapore criminalises publication of fake news

Singapore: Singapore’s parliament has passed “anti-fake news” bill on Wednesday. Penalties for not complying with orders include steep fines and jail time, Al-Jazeera reported.

The legislation grants arbitrary powers to government officials to determine what is deemed as fact. Critics oppose the legislation saying it will give government officials unprecedented powers and will stifle free speech in an era when populist leaders around the world label the media as the enemy of the people.

Singapore is ranked 151 out 180 in the World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders.

The Bill named Protection From Online Falsehoods and Manipulation allows government ministers to hold individuals and online platforms accountable for what they consider malicious falsehoods that harm the public interest.

Offenders will get up to 10 years’ jail time and $1 million Singapore dollars ($735,080) in fines.

Allaying fears proponents say the legislation targets factually-incorrect statements, it does not apply to opinions, criticisms, satire or parody.

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