Following an article that TOC published on Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) conducting a public outreach programme to “educate” people on fake news, lawyer and People’s Voice Party Chief, Lim Tean took to his Facebook to comment on this event and the worrying moves that the government is taking to clamp freedom of speech and expression in the country.

In his post, he revealed that he was shocked after reading our article as “IMDA is supposed to act in the public interest in the discharge of its duties”.

According to information given by the member of the public to TOC, in the IMDA event, the speaker allegedly informed the audience that they should trust mainstream media like The Straits Times (ST) and the government. The emcee of the event also highlighted that the public should verify small links given by other sites like Mothership, and warned them not to share posts or messages. The emcee showed the email of ST on the screen and said if they are in doubt on certain news or information, they can send an email to ST to check on the facts.

As such, Lim Team said that if this did happen at the event, “then it is nothing more than a government instrument to stop unwanted criticisms of the government and its officials”.

He also felt that it was disgraceful for IMDA to promote propaganda by saying that only information given out by State Media and the government are the truth, and other media outlets must be shunned. This is quite an irony given that ST is ranked 154th in the world and they become the source of truth, he wrote.

He added, “It is equally outrageous that it is encouraging people not to share messages online. Like the PAP, it appears that IMDA wants Singapore to be a closed society and for Singaporeans to only imbibe government propaganda”.

As a firm believer of freedom of speech and expression, values that are also core to his party, Lim Tean opined that the lack of this freedom is the main reason why Singapore has regressed in its economic development in recent decades.

People who are concern about the country and want a better future for all, must admit that a society ruled by fear and where only the government propaganda is allowed to proliferate, can never create “a vibrant, innovative and enterprising citizenry”, he said.

The government cannot also clamp down on freedom of speech and expression as it will result to “dull people and we will be even further behind the curve”.

Citing President Roosevelt four freedoms – freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear – that became the basis of the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights, Lim Tean suggested that these four kinds of freedom would be a solid basis for a good government.

The politician added that a democratic government needs accountability and the “Fake News” Bill will remove much of it. As such, he said that his party opposes this Bill as it doesn’t have much benefit for the people, and will “have a lot to say on the proposed legislation in the coming weeks”.

He also urged the public to go all out in opposing this proposed legislation. Therefore, he wrote, “This fight will determine how successful we are as a Nation this century! Do not allow the anti-democratic Forces who only want to perpetuate their hold on power take us back to the stone ages!”

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