FACE­BOOK DE­CLINES SG TAKEDOWN RE­QUEST

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - WORLD -

SIN­GA­PORE— Face­book has re­jected a Sin­ga­pore govern­ment re­quest to re­move a post of an on­line ar­ti­cle that the govern­ment said was “false and ma­li­cious,” prompt­ing its law min­istry to say the case il­lus­trated the need to in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion to stop fake news.

Sin­ga­pore’s cen­tral bank said on Fri­day it had filed a po­lice re­port against an on­line ar­ti­cle by an Aus­tralia-based in­de­pen­dent blog­ger about Sin­ga­pore banks andMalaysia’s 1MDB state fund.

Crit­i­cal me­dia

Web ac­cess in Sin­ga­pore to the web­site of the States Times Re­view (STR) has been blocked by in­ter­net ser­vice providers as di­rected by Sin­ga­pore’s tele­com and me­dia reg­u­la­tor In­fo­comm Me­dia De­vel­op­ment Author­ity (IMDA).

“IMDA has as­sessed that the ar­ti­cle un­der­mined pub­lic con­fi­dence in the in­tegrity of the Sin­ga­pore Govern­ment and is ob­jec­tion­able on grounds of pub­lic in­ter­est,” IMDA said in a state­ment.

The IMDA asked Face­book to take down a post of the ar­ti­cle but “Face­book has in­di­cated that they will not ac­cede to IM- DA’s re­quest,” it said in a sep­a­rate state­ment on Satur­day.

Sin­ga­pore’s Min­istry of Law said “Face­book has de­clined to take down a post that is clearly false, defam­a­tory and at­tacks Sin­ga­pore, us­ing false­hoods,” which il­lus­trated the need to in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion fight­ing fake news.

‘Face­book un­re­li­able’

“(Face­book) can­not be re­lied upon to fil­ter false­hoods or pro­tect Sin­ga­pore from a false in­for­ma­tion cam­paign,” it said in a state­ment.

The Straits Times Re­view was founded and is run by a Sin­ga­porean po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist Alex Tan, who is based in Aus­tralia.

It car­ries ar­ti­cles that are crit­i­cal of Sin­ga­pore’s lead­ers and its rul­ing Peo­ple’s Ac­tion Party.

Tan said in a post on his Face­book page that he had de­cided to sus­pend ac­tiv­i­ties on the web­site be­cause “it lost a chan­nel to reach Sin­ga­pore­ans.”

He also said he would stop writ­ing and his Face­book page would shut down in two weeks, but the move was not be­cause of pressure from Sin­ga­pore.

—REUTERS

GLOBAL CAM­PAIGN A Face­book sign at a con­ven­tion in Shang­hai, China on Nov. 5.

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