Rights, Law & Common Sense

9 April 2019 -  The Association of Muslim Lawyers (AML) and WISE SG presented a ground-up dialogue with Minister K Shanmugam titled ‘Rights, Law & Common Sense’. The forum acquainted attendees to the tenets of the newly proposed bill to manage deliberate online falsehoods and hate speech. 

Against the backdrop of global economic slowdown and a possible head-on collision of global economic superpowers; heightening global warming and increasing occurrences of major natural disasters, intensifying political armed conflicts and, mounting security tensions caused by global terrorism, the world now grapples with the severe consequence of a global addiction – the social media.

The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act was introduced after the Select Committee on Deliberate Online concluded that the online falsehood phenomenon is a real and serious problem for our multi-racial, multi religious Singapore.

The individual’s right to free speech must be subjected to the public’s right to peace, privacy, and security, to allow for positive and sustainable social, cultural and economic growth. Every right must bear good reason and be exercised responsibly. 

Fake news is not new, but social media takes such deliberate falsehoods to unprecedented, precarious potency. With the advancements of technology, including social media platforms, such negative effects have taken on unprecedented scale and severity. We should adopt technology to uplift society, not tear it down. 

Addressing its relevance and significance to Singapore, Minister Shanmugam engaged with over 160 guests, which included senior faith leaders and representatives; school principals, senior educators and students from the polytechnics, junior colleges, National schools, madrasahs, senior management of local SMEs and MNCs, and interfaith activists who actively shared their views and sought clarity on the rationale and impact of the new initiatives. 

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