03 May 2017
Fake news is in the news, again. This time it is mostly about governments planning to introduce new laws and penalties to stop their spread. The German authorities are targeting Internet giants like Facebook, and plan to require them to take action against fake news posted on their sites failing which fines of up to 500,000 euros can be imposed. In Britain, there is a parliamentary committee looking into the issue. The Singapore Government announced last month it is studying the matter and looks likely to introduce new laws. Why are governments stepping in, and will they succeed?
Their concerns have mounted following the presidential election in the United States where the volume and intensity of fake news reached new heights. Even more alarming for them was the possibility that foreign governments might have been involved in attempts to influence the outcome of the polls. While there has been no conclusive evidence of this, the mere suggestion that future elections anywhere could be similarly targeted has made governments anxious to be seen doing something.
… Han Fook Kwang is a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He is also Editor-at-Large with The Straits Times.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 04/05/2017