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Committee studying online falsehoods gets 162 responses from public, companies

SINGAPORE — A government committee set up to examine and report on the causes and impact of online falsehoods has received a total of 162 submissions after the deadline expired on Wednesday (March 7) afternoon.

Committee studying online falsehoods gets 162 responses from public, companies

A government committee set up to examine and report on online falsehoods has received a total of 162 submissions after the deadline expired on Wednesday (March 7) afternoon. Photo illustration: Pixabay

SINGAPORE — A government committee set up to examine and report on the causes and impact of online falsehoods has received a total of 162 submissions after the deadline expired on Wednesday (March 7) afternoon.

Mr Charles Chong, chairman of the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods, told TODAY that having more views will help the team make better recommendations. One of the committee’s tasks is to solicit views from the public and recommend solutions.

He revealed that 100 more submissions came in after the original Feb 28 deadline was extended by a week in response to requests.

Mr Chong, who is also Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament for the Punggol East ward, added that submissions were made by various parties across a “broad spectrum”, including media and technology companies as well as foreign and Singapore experts.

“The Select Committee is reviewing them all and will issue a statement after our meeting on March 9, essentially to review the latest submissions and to decide who to call for oral presentation,” he said. “I think the more views we obtain, the better will be the recommendations.”

Later this month, the committee will hold public hearings on three separate occasions: March 14 to 16, March 22 to 23 and March 27 to 29. The hearings will be held at a hearing room in Parliament House, which will be open to members of the public and the media.

The Office of the Clerk of Parliament said earlier on Monday when giving the allotted dates that the committee “will decide, as the hearings progress, whether all the dates need to be used”.

The 10-member committee was formed on Jan 10, after Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam tabled a motion in Parliament on the need to convene the team. All 80 members of the House voted in favour of it.

The committee will review how Singapore can tackle and prevent fake news, and among other tasks, it will examine the motivations for the spreading of such falsehoods, the types of individuals and entities that engage in such activity, and the consequences that such actions have on the country.

Aside from Mr Chong, other members include Mr Shanmugam, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, Mr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Members of Parliament Rahayu Mahzam, Seah Kian Peng, Edwin Tong, Sun Xueling and Pritam Singh, and Nominated Member of Parliament Chia Yong Yong.

In a 21-page Green Paper published in January, the Ministry of Communication and Information and the Law Ministry highlighted the threat of fake news, saying that the issue has to be looked into now, rather than later, given that Singapore is an “attractive target” for the deliberate spread of falsehoods online.

 

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