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Janil Puthucheary

Janil Puthucheary: Deal with fake news with same comprehensive approach as it does illicit drugs

In a Today report dated 14 March (Wednesday), Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary is quoted to have said that he favoured an integrated approach similar to the one Singapore uses against drugs the Republic's intention to treat fake news.

According to the Cabinet minister, the treatment on fake news should be with the same comprehensive approach as it does illicit drugs while allowing space for a "robust" discourse.

"Our approach is never to say that legislation is going to be the be all and end all, or that regulation is going to be the be all and end all," said Dr Puthucheary and added, "It's how various components work together... Our approach towards drugs, where it's not just purely the legislation that is the effective lever, we feel, it's the ecosystem that has been generated."

A parliamentary select committee has begun its public hearings on Wednesday and is expected to make a series of recommendations to lawmakers within months.

Dr Puthucheary, who is a member of the committee said in an interview on Monday (12 March), "Our approach is never to say that legislation is going to be the be all and end all, or that regulation is going to be the be all and end all. It's how various components work together. Our approach towards drugs, where it's not just purely the legislation that is the effective lever, we feel, it's the ecosystem that has been generated,"

Readers who commented on this matter, argue that the government has more of its hand on fake news than others.

Aziz Gani wrote, "Now they start to worried every dirty things they done it started to leak out online. Ministers should stop swindling public money. I really don't understand where is our tons of tax money goes to. Even just for cigarettes tax they can earn billion not even a free medical for Singaporean. Every Minister if going to pocketing the society going to suffer. Next generation your cant even own the house. Good luck."

Ronald Wee wrote, "That's good to hear, we'll start by jailing MP Charles Chong. The indisputable fact is that when Punggol East was transferred to the Workers' Party, $22.5 million was transferred to the new town council. That sum is now unaccounted for...," he wrote. This "indisputable fact" has been dispelled following an audit by KPMG. And Charles Chong is in charge of the fake news committee. How appropriate."

Thomas Lim wrote, "How many Straits Times staff to be hanged??"

Donald Tan wrote, "He should tell his MP's and ministers to stop spreading fake news before imposing it on others."

Chin Hua Yak wrote, "Propaganda is no 1 fake news. You can't handle it, just forget about the rest."

Eva Tan wrote, "To avoid Singapore becoming victim of Fake news, the same resolute and united approach is important.
WP also voted in favour to have Select Committee to look into this."

Bert Hkp wrote, "If the government is so concern over fake news... Shouldn't they put in place various safeguards on social media or publications. How would the public knows what's fake what's not. Everyone has a story to tell and their own version as well. Sources are usually the right point to every story but does it mean moving forward the public only use one source which is regulated by the government? This is exactly why we have 'alternative sources'. To verify two sides or more of a story. And if the government so deemed to know it's fake, they can take action like how they did it to many fake platforms in the past. The public ain't stupid. We can think, we can read we also can analyse to what degree the truth is."

Nadarajah Kulanthaiappanwrote, "What's fake news? Who creates the fake news? Is it the opposition party or NGO's?
Does the ruling party in all the countries tell the truth? Don't they spread fake news?"