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Legislation

Bhutan succeeds India in decriminalising homosexuality as National Assembly passes Penal Code amendment

Less than a year after its neighbour India repealed a colonial-era law which criminalised homosexuality for centuries, the kingdom of Bhutan’s National Assembly had almost unanimously passed an amendment to the nation’s Penal Code on Fri (7 Jun). Local dailies Kuensel and The Bhutanese reported that only one parliamentarian in Bhutan’s lower house of Parliament voted against the amendment to repeal …

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Taiwan becomes the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage through groundbreaking Bill

This year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia witnessed a significant moment in the history of LGBTQ rights as Taiwan’s parliamentarians pass Asia’s first same-sex marriage legislation today (17 May), despite strong opposition from the public as seen in the results of a referendum last Nov. Results of the referendum revealed that more than 70 per cent of people …

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Singapore government’s justification for fake news law is similar to that of Malaysia’s Anti-Fake News Act which was eventually repealed

Debate is still swirling around the Singapore government’s proposed fake news law, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) – even more so this week as parliament sits down for a second reading for the bill. Since it was introduced last month (1 April), the government has consistently defended the bill against strong criticism on several fronts. Human …

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Workers’ Party advocates judiciary’s role as first and final arbiter of truth in “fake news” cases while PAP disagrees

Contrary to arguments perpetuated by advocates of the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill (POFMA), which has now been passed in Parliament, the judiciary remains the most suitable initial and final arbiter in deciding on matters involving alleged online falsehoods compared to Ministers and the Executive under POFMA, said Workers’ Party secretary-general Pritam Singh. Speaking in response to People’s …

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POFMA may be detrimental to innovation: Google

Technology giant Google said Thursday Singapore’s new law against “fake news” could hurt innovation, a crucial element in the high-tech sector which the government is developing as an economic growth driver. Parliament late Wednesday passed legislation that gives government ministers powers to order social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to put warnings next to posts authorities deem to …

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Parliament passes Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill with minimum resistance

The controversial Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill was passed in Parliament yesterday evening (8 May) after a fierce debate that stretched out over two days. 74 Members of Parliament (MPs) supported the Bill, nine MPs comprising those from Workers’ Party (WP) and Non-Constituency MPs (NCMPs) rejected it, and one Nominated MP (NMP) Lim Sun Sun abstained from voting …

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Executive arm of Govt should not be arbiter of what constitutes falsehoods: WP chief Pritam Singh

The executive arm of Government, particularly Ministers, should not be given the “remarkable leeway” to determine what constitutes false statements of fact”, said Workers’ Party (WP) secretary-general Pritam Singh. Mr Singh told the House on Tue (May 7) during a debate on the controversial bill that consequently, on the above basis, WP rejects the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation …

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Independent council proposed by three NMPs may lead to ‘unnecessary bureaucratic bloat’: K Shanmugam

Setting up an independent body or council to review corrective or take-down orders issued by Ministers under the Protection From Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill may lead to “unnecessary bureaucratic bloat”, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam in Parliament on Tue (May 7). Mr Shanmugam told the House during the Second Reading of the Bill that the current …

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Still “time” left to “appropriately revise” proposed POFMA: ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights

There is still time to “appropriately revise” the Protection against Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill before its Second Reading in Parliament this week to ensure that the proposed Act is passed in accordance with international law, said the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) in Jakarta on Tue (7 May). In its statement on Tue, APHR urged the Singapore government …

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Revenge porn, voyeurism and “stealthing” to be part of sexual offences under Penal Code amendments

Revenge porn, voyeurism and “stealthing” will soon be classified as sexual offences under the Penal Code with the passing of the Criminal Law Reform Bill on Mon (6 May). The introduction of the Bill is in tandem with technological developments and the use of smartphones as a medium through which perpetrators often commit such sexual offences. Senior Parliamentary Secretary for …

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