Singapore passes fake news law amid freedom-of-speech fears

The wealthy city-state says it is vulnerable to fake news because of its position as a global financial hub, its mixed ethnic and religious population and widespread Internet access. (Shutterstock)
Updated 09 May 2019

Singapore passes fake news law amid freedom-of-speech fears

  • The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill passed with 72 members voting in favor
  • Technology giants including Google and Facebook have said they see the law giving Singapore’s government too much power over deciding what qualifies as true or false

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s parliament on Wednesday passed an anti-fake news bill that has been criticized by rights groups, journalists and tech firms over fears it could be used to clamp down on freedom of speech.
The law will require online media platforms to carry corrections or remove content the government considers to be false, with penalties for perpetrators running as high as prison terms of up to 10 years or fines up to S$1 million ($735,000).
The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill passed with 72 members voting in favor. All nine opposition lawmakers voted against, local media reported.
Three nominated members of parliament, who are appointed directly by the president and not affiliated to political parties, all abstained.
Technology giants including Google and Facebook have said they see the law giving Singapore’s government too much power over deciding what qualifies as true or false.
But Law Minister K. Shanmugam earlier told parliament the legislation should not be feared.
“Free speech should not be affected by this bill. We are talking here about falsehoods. We are talking about bots... trolls... fake accounts and so on,” Shanmugam said.
“The working of a democratic society depends on the members of that society being informed and not misinformed.”
Singapore is ranked 151 among 180 countries rated in the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders, a non-government group that promotes freedom of information — below Russia and Myanmar.
The International Commission of Jurists, an association made up of senior judges, lawyers and legal scholars who campaign to uphold human rights standards around the world, said the law could be subject to abuse.
“The severe penalties proposed under the bill, its broad scope of territorial jurisdiction and the absence of clear protections for expression pose real risks that it will be misused to clamp down on the free exchange and expression of opinions and information,” ICJ’s Asia Pacific director, Frederick Rawski, said in an email to Reuters.
The wealthy city-state says it is vulnerable to fake news because of its position as a global financial hub, its mixed ethnic and religious population and widespread Internet access.


Cannes Lions completes jury presidents’ lineup for 2021

Updated 23 January 2021

Cannes Lions completes jury presidents’ lineup for 2021

  • “We know that after the postponement of last year’s awards, our jury presidents are eager to get going,” said Philip Thomas
  • This year, the jury president lineup is comprised of 57 percent women — the highest in the awards’ history

DUBAI: International advertising awards festival Cannes Lions has confirmed its jury president lineup for the awards scheduled to take place in June 2021.
Bozoma Saint John, global chief marketing officer at Netflix; Merlee Jayme, global president at Dentsu Mcgarrybowen; and Geoff Northcott, managing partner and chief experience officer at AKQA, complete the full line-up and join the jury presidents initially appointed for the 2020 awards.
“We know that after the postponement of last year’s awards, our jury presidents are eager to get going,” said Philip Thomas, chairman, Lions. “They will be leading juries in a unique year, awarding Lions for both 2020 and 2021 — no small job but one that will provide a crucial reflection and insight into the industry’s recent unprecedented journey.”
This year, the jury president lineup is comprised of 57 percent women — the highest in the awards’ history.
One of them, Susan Credle, global chief creative officer, FCB, who is this year’s president of the titanium jury, said: “Advertising at its creative best is one of the most powerful economic-driving, business problem-solving, culture-changing agents in the world. By celebrating the work at the Cannes lions festival, we are reminded of our potential and inspired to live into it.”
Judging will take place during the festival in June. The hope is for the judges to be physically present together but if they are unable to do so, the festival has created a remote judging experience, which was implemented at its regional awards. “It (the judging process) is a crucial part of all of our Lions awards; a human experience but also a rigorous and robust process,” said Simon Cook, managing director, Lions.
Cannes Lions is scheduled to take place from June 21-25, 2021, and will incorporate the awarding of both the 2020 and 2021 Lions.
The full list of jury presidents for 2021 is:
Titanium Lions: Susan Credle, global chief creative officer, FCB, Global
Design Lions: Pum Lefebure, chief creative officer, Design Army, US
Film Lions: Richard Brim, chief creative officer, adam&eveDDB, UK
Mobile Lions: Andrew Keller, VP, global creative director, Facebook
Outdoor Lions: Luiz Sanches, chairman, chief creative officer & partner, AlmapBBDO, Brazil
Print & Publishing Lions: Liz Taylor, global chief creative officer, Leo Burnett, and worldwide chief creative officer, Publicis Communications NA
Radio & Audio Lions: Merlee Jayme, global president, dentsu mcgarrybowen and chairman Dentsu Jayme Syfu
Digital Craft Lions: Jax Ostle-Evans, managing director, Stink Studios, UK
Film Craft Lions: Kerstin Emhoff, president, PRETTYBIRD, US
Industry Craft Lions: Jayanta Jenkins, EVP, head of marketing, Disney+, global
Entertainment Lions: Jae Goodman, CEO, Observatory (A Stagwell and CAA Company), global
Entertainment Lions for Music: Wyclef Jean, president and chief strategy officer, Carnival World Music Group, US
Entertainment Lions for Sport: Ben Hartman, chief client officer, International, Octagon
Brand Experience & Activation Lions: Vicki Maguire, chief creative officer, Havas, UK
Creative Business Transformation Lions: Geoff Northcott, global chief experience officer & managing partner, EMEA, AKQA
Creative eCommerce Lions: Tiffany Rolfe, global chief creative officer, R/GA
Glass: The Lion for Change: Bozoma Saint John, global chief marketing officer, Netflix
Sustainable Development Goals Lions: Eduardo Maruri, VP global creative board & president/CEO Europe, Grey worldwide
Health & Wellness Lions: Tom Richards, global chief creative officer, 21GRAMS
Pharma Lions: Anne de Schweinitz, global managing director, Healthcare, FleishmanHillard
Innovation Lions: Claudia Cristovao, head of Google Brand Studio, APAC
Creative Effectiveness Lions: Ann Mukherjee, chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard NA, US
Creative Data Lions: Maurice Riley, chief data officer, Digitas, Australia & New Zealand
Creative Strategy Lions: Suzanne Powers, global chief strategy officer, McCann Worldgroup
Direct Lions: Reed Collins, chief creative officer, Ogilvy, Asia
Media Lions: Philippa Brown, worldwide CEO, PHD
PR Lions: Gail Heimann, president & CEO, Weber Shandwick
Social & Influencer Lions: Debbi Vandeven, global chief creative officer, VMLY&R

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