New Sin­ga­pore anti-terror law can or­der me­dia black­out

The Philippine Star - - WORLD NEWS -

SIN­GA­PORE (AP) — A new law that gives the po­lice spe­cial pow­ers dur­ing ter­ror­ist at­tacks, in­clud­ing widely ban­ning jour­nal­ists and mem­bers of the pub­lic from re­port­ing on the scene, took ef­fect in Sin­ga­pore on Wed­nes­day.

The law gives the po­lice the power to block all com­mu­ni­ca­tions on-site, rang­ing from pho­to­graphs to videos, text and au­dio mes­sages, for up to a month if au­thor­i­ties feel se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions could be com­pro­mised.

The Min­istry of Home Af­fairs, which drafted the law, said on Tues­day that the coun­try faces a “clear and present ter­ror­ism threat, posed by home-grown rad­i­cal­ized in­di­vid­u­als and foreign ter­ror­ists.”

“It is there­fore im­por­tant to equip the po­lice with pow­ers to ... re­spond swiftly and ef­fec­tively to at­tacks of any scale and of vary­ing tac­tics, and min­i­mize the chances that their se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions are com­pro­mised,” the min­istry said.

In­di­vid­u­als who flout the new law face a max­i­mum sen­tence of two years in prison and a fine of $14,891.

The min­istry said the law would make the po­lice more ef­fec­tive in re­spond­ing to ter­ror­ist threats. It cited pre­vi­ous at­tacks in Mum­bai and Paris, where live broad­casts al­legedly al­lowed ter­ror­ists to an­tic­i­pate the next move of se­cu­rity forces.

Dur­ing the 2008 Mum­bai at­tacks, videos of se­cu­rity forces pre­par­ing to storm the Taj Ma­hal Palace Ho­tel al­lowed gun­men to an­tic­i­pate the move, it said.

In the 2015 at­tack on a deli in Paris, a ter­ror­ist who had taken sev­eral hostages was able to watch live tele­vi­sion broad­casts show­ing po­lice pre­par­ing to en­ter the deli, the min­istry said.

Sin­ga­pore, lo­cated close to the Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity na­tions of Malaysia and Indonesia, with Is­lamic State group sym­pa­this­ers, has ef­fec­tively checked ter­ror­ist threats.

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