Singapore’s fake news laws deployed for the first time against Facebook post

The Singapore government for the first time invoked its “fake news” laws, with the Ministry of Finance issuing a list of corrections and clarifications to a Facebook post made by opposition party member Brad Bowyer.

The corrections were available on the ‘Factually’ section of the Singapore government website and under the provisions of the act, had to be carried prominently next to information that had been deemed false or misleading.

A note from the POFMA office said: “The Correction Direction requires Mr Bowyer to carry in full, the correction notice at the top of his Facebook post.”

Bowyer complied but also took the opportunity to elaborate on his stance on POFMA in a post on Facebook and said: “While I personally feel POFMA was rushed through and has many opportunities for misuse, we have been assured that the current government will not misuse the act and that future addendum will fix the gaps. 

“Indeed they said as much at the time in their public statements and I take them at their word, although I still feel the situation was not that urgent that a more considered piece of legislation could have been enacted after more vigorous debate and evaluation.

“Finally, this will in no way impact my resolve or desire to do what I feel I can to improve our social and political discourse and how Singapore is governed and develops both now and in the future. A responsible and vocal citizenry is as much a vital part of our democratic nation as is a responsible and listening government.”

Concluding a longer post outlining his reactions to the clarifications from the Ministry of Finance, he said: “On a final general note, I feel we should all do our best to comment factually and responsibly however when questions arise just asserting something is false or giving irrelevant information does not answer valid questions. With more transparency, clarification and accountability we can rest easier that our interests are in safe hands.”

The provisions of POFMA allowed for an appeal against a minister’s decision that a piece of information was false and misleading. The cost of fling such an appeal before the courts was pegged at S$200.


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