Singapore invokes ′fake news′ law for first time | News | DW | 25.11.2019
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Singapore invokes 'fake news' law for first time

A politician has been asked to edit a Facebook post after alleging the government influenced decisions made by state investors. The British-born Singaporean has been accused of posting "false and misleading" statements.

A British-born politician in Singapore has become the first citizen requested by the government to correct a Facebook post under "fake news" legislation.

The post questioned the independence of state investment firms.

Brad Bowyer, a naturalized Singaporean, placed a correction notice on Monday with a link to a government statement following a request by the finance minister under the newly-created Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).

The government claimed he used "false statements of fact and misleading statements," alleging the Singaporean government influenced decisions made by state investors Temasek Holdings and GIC.

Bowyer has been a member of the ruling party and opposition parties but has never stood for elected office.

"In general, I caution all those who comment on our domestic politics and social issues to do so with due care and attention especially if you speak from any place of influence," Boyer said in a statement on Facebook. 

Read more: Bangladesh: Fake news on Facebook fuels communal violence 

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Concerns about freedom of speech 

Singapore, a global financial hub, has a mixed ethnic and religious population and has widespread internet access which, according to rights groups, makes Singapore prone to fake news. 

Rights groups have said the "fake news" law is a disguised method to crush opposition and crack down on dissent in a country where the ruling People's Action Party has won every election since its independence in 1965. 

Nevertheless, Bowyer complied with the POFMA request. 

"I have no problem in following that request as I feel it is fair to have both points of view and clarifications and corrections of fact when necessary," Bowyer said in his Facebook statement.

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