No need for a fake news law

I can understand the govt’s wish to stop people from deliberately spreading lies through social media.

But I am afraid that the govt cannot tell the difference between a honest opinion, a honest mistake and deliberate lies.

I am also afraid that the govt will abuse the power given by the law to stop legitimate questions being asked about the conduct of the govt and its ministers.

There are some actions taken by the govt that are questionable, such as what is the salary of the CEO of Temasek Holdings, why is the salary kept secret, how much assets are owned by ministers and their families.

If these matters of public interest are not made transparent, some people will speculate about the matters.

Will the speculations, if unsubstantiated, be considered as deliberately spreading fake news?

Is the fake news law intended to stop people from raising these questions?

Even if some people spread information that turns out to be untrue, not many people will believe them anyway. How much harm will it cause?

If the govt acts with moral integrity, they should not be afraid that the citizens will believe the untruths that are being spread about them.

Most citizens will be able to disregard the untruths.

There is no need to have a law to stop fake news.

I am afraid that the fake news law will be abused by the govt. I speak against it.


Tan Kin Lian

* The author blogs at



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19 Responses to “No need for a fake news law”

  • Useyourbrain:

    A Sterile and unimaginative society.

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  • Bapak:

    The truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth about PAP.

    1) But I am afraid that the govt cannot tell the difference between a honest opinion, a honest mistake and deliberate lies.
    They can, Mr. Tan. For themselves – yes, for others – no. PAP always run with one systems, two rules (interpretations). To others is pliant, to them is not.

    2) There are some actions taken by the govt that are questionable, such as what is the salary of the CEO of Temasek Holdings, why is the salary kept secret, how much assets are owned by ministers and their families.
    Cause they know she is not in that calibre yet pay that amount. Once, the people know the truth, there will be a big riot and that is the end of PAP.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Tan Kin Lian, I CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW LAWMAKERS CAN LEGISLATE what is “genuine” news and what is “fake” news beyond the semantic and cognitive obvious WITHOUT ENDANGERING LEE-jiapore as a global trade and financial centre.

    The “cure” of fake news legislation is FAR WORST than the imagined ills and symptoms.


    Very simple – there are a LOT of concepts that simply CAN’T BE LEGISLATED via parliamentary-made law except in circumstances of flawed law application. For example, how can the LEGISLATIVE law defined “property” and even its ownership except in common law application when sperm and egg in human biology construct are “property” with exclusive rights attached. Imagine this happening of In vitro-fertilisation (IVF) baby-making where the hospital mixed up all the eggs and sperms of participants, what is the legal and family consequences thereafter? Even corpse is private “property”, otherwise the hospital can simply sell organs for transplant operation of the dead.

    Chinese scientist are unlawfully creating crispr babies and even Chinese Govt CLAMMED THAT DOWN FORCIBLY.

    Imagine rogue scientists outside did the same of genetic engineering – disregarding moral and ethical dimension in those violations – how can Parliament LEGISLATE in Parliament human egg, sperm, genetic science are private “property” rights impermissible of violation and genetic science as intellectual property rights impermissible of application belonging exclusively to government? How are we going to help desperate couples with IVF thereafter? How can we advance genetic science of stem-cell research to perhaps one day cure Azeheimer disease (if every frontier of intellectual property rights “violation” research needs govt prior approval because of LEGISLATIVE LAW PASSED?

    it is MAD LAW if we venture into that domain of trying to legislate in Parliament “property” and its “ownership” rights. Property and ownership can only be defined in COMMON LAW APPLICATIONS along these TWO dimensions of case precedents.

    - animus possidendi (proof of possession – for example tenant have exclusive possession but no property right, so satisfaction of animus possidendi DOES NOT PROVE ownership)

    - animus domini (proof of capacity to define/determine final outcome – for example a lessee of HDB must return it after 99 yr back to HDB who is the real owner).

    Likewise, you can’t legislate what is genuine and what is fake law except in artificiality of hypocrisy or in flawed construct. THAT IS FAKE NEWS LEGISLATION IS ITSELF FAKE.

    to be continued

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  • RDB:

    When one is proper, especially as govt,it should have no fear at all of improper and fake news. Fear is sense of insecurity and comes from one’s own sense of having been at somewhat improper in conduct, Especially as a govt knowing that they can be subject to international disrepute actions. This is a fact of life. Because, when one has a solid reputation, especially as govt knowing that they are being watch beyond its country’s shores, then panic will cause a weak govt to panic. Facts of human life.

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  • RDB:

    Sorry, resubmit to correct typo spelling error for word panic.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Tan Kin Lian

    CONTINUIING FROM ABOVE, fake news legislation is going to open up a can of toxic worms infecting commerce and industry. In contract law, we know there is such thing as commercial litigations fought on mistake, misleading representations, deceptive conduct etc etc. You know that from case history of LEHMAN BROTHERS minibond scandals in which banks in Singapore REFUSED COMPENSATORY SETTLEMENT TO BUYERS but that resistance partly collapsed (with banks in Singapore giving in to demands for some buyers of Lehman Brother bonds except for those so-called sophisticated investors) when the Hong Kong Regulatory Authority forced all financial institutions to compensate aggrieved buyers. You can’t have say bank ABCD or XYZ accepting liability of “misleading” or “deceptive” conduct compensating customers in HK and the same banks denying liability to its customers for exactly the same conduct in Singapore!!

    IT IS A MOCKERY RIDICULOUS OF BANKING AND CONTRACT LAW APPLICATIONS OTHERWISE and Singapore cannot come up LAST on this shameful liability denial. MAS will be looked at as backward archaic and irrelevant in global banking competitiveness – if that anomaly stands.

    @ Tan Kin Lian, if you check the COMMON LAW application, “deceptive” conduct DOES NOT AND I REPEAT AGAIN, DOES NOT….imply dishonesty of the “violator”. In common law, deceptive conduct is simply defined as “anything that add contribution to the cause”. HOW AMAZING OF THIS CATCH-ALL LEGAL INTERPRETATION that even exclude the need for the claimant to prove “dishonesty” was involved in transacted outcome. It is like using a net big enough to trap a “boastful” whale to catch a shoal of “honest” fishes swimming by. In other words, if the baker/seller simply tells the customer that Lehman Brothers bond is “good” or “attractive” or “high-yield” investment, that seller is liable for the losses of his/her customers. Hong Kong banks paid through their anuses.

    When you legislate “fake” news, every monkeys will start to claim the other party lied or misrepresented “fake” information in contract. Singapore could degenerate into a centre of FAKE NEWS litigation mountain of lawsuits piling up in our judicial courts. And then the nightmare begins – the judges will have to work through the MAZE of a crazy flawed piece of legislation to determine what is fake and what is genuine in commercial contracts and banking law. Remember CHC case? The final court of appeal as told by the most learned judge, Andrew Phang, telling us it is FLAWED LAW – A BIG HOLE!!!

    I will bet my money that Hong Kong, London, Sydney, NY will NEVER have fake news law to screw up their business & banking operation.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Tan Kin Lian

    LAWMAKERS IN LEE-jiapore had better wake up and NOT do something stupiak to fiack their own backside – screwing Singapore’s role as a leading trading and financial centre into the dustbin of history.

    FAKE LAW IS POLITICS, not economics.

    Those who advance are the clever ones that legislate to advance the interests of business and economics cause and not the other way around.


    On my book, there is NO NEED FOR FAKE NEWS LAW.

    History taught us that what is “genuine” news of political oppression turns up decades later is politically-manufactured fake news of Marxists conspiracy that never existed. HDB was never own by peasants, it was all leased – just to name two official fake news.


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  • oxygen:

    Ooops, typo error there, so, the line

    oxygen: In common law, deceptive conduct is simply defined as “anything that add contribution to the cause”.

    should be read as

    oxygen: In common law, deceptive conduct is simply defined as “any non-trivial contribution to the cause”.

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  • Facets of falutin fakes:

    Anyone heard yet the fake news your HDB flat is an ever-appreciating asset that will never fall in monetary value?

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  • Sun Yat Seen says:

    We want to overthrow the imperial power not because it is Manchurian but because we want republicanism… We republican revolutionaries can never have the notion of becoming emperors after the revolution, like all the peasant rebels did in the past.

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  • HarderTruths:

    Truth = What the pappy say & do
    Untruth / Lie – what everyone else thinks, says & does

    So there is no contradiction for the pappies – you are breaking fake news laws if you have an opinion against them.

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  • No Fan of Squinting-Eyed TKL:

    To Mr Ah Lian:

    No such things as “A honest opinion” or “A honest mistake”, okay, President-wannabe & limelight-hogger (or more appropriately, limelight wh**e, since heaven knows when)!

    And to think that you were once SEE EE OH of the largest (by way, of course, of policies tilted in your favor) insurer domestically, let nothing to say of your shameless, doomed-from-get-go presidential ambitions (which must still linger between those lecherously squinting eyes of yours, doubtless).

    Get a secretary lah, don’t be such a cheapskate! At least to vet your grammatically erroneous (never mind illiogically argued) incessant postings, please, you publicity-seeking biggest teekorpek of Bras Basah (not just Building No.75!).

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  • Hi!:


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  • Just This Power called 青空:

    Yes, invest in a secretary (or proofreader), Mr Tan.

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  • Hi!:

    E.g, our transportation has been touted as “world class” under the “true news” category!. But was that truthful news?!. No.

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  • oxygen:

    WHO WANTS TO BE A DIRECTOR OF LISTED ENTITY when fake news legislation comes into force? You are walking on water of legality every time you put your name and signature to any publicly circulated statutory document – be that a corporate announcement or an annual report.

    Here is an illumination in the oil and gas industry. Shell paid $120m (£65.7m) to the US securities and exchange commission, and £17m to the financial services authority.

    Shell said it had agreed in principle with the FSA and SEC – “without admitting or denying their findings” – that it breached market abuse provisions related to the calculation of its reserves.

    Earlier this year, the oil giant admitted it had overbooked proven reserves in its oil fields by 4.5bn barrels, around 23% of its total, wiping billions of pounds off its market value. It subsequently downgraded its reserves a further three times.

    Shell pleaded innocence of alleged wrongdoing in reserve estimation AND THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. How could “proven” reserves disclosed in statutory announcement ever be certainty of accurate determination when these things happened to Kairiki Energy/Nido Pretroleum in the Tindalo oil field as a case law and practical geology illumination?

    Both Nido/Kairiki Energy confidently announced commercial field discovery at Tindalo oil field, quantified the “proven” reserves in this oil-field in accounting measures in its statutory accounts/financial statement disclosures to its shareholders/investing public.

    The reality is they too were caught with pants down. At well commissioning stage of production commencement, the first oil flow was at commercial rate as geological drilling data predicted.

    Then shortly after, disaster struck. Most unexpectedly, not predicted of well wireline logs, the flow rates diminishes and a side-track well was drilled to test outcome.

    Diagnostic test turned out negative.

    Kairiki/Nido was forced to abandon the well.

    NO ONE WAS FIRED FOR “incompetence” or “fake news”.

    So Shell CANNOT be logically of fact or legally liable for alleged “FAKE NEWS” publication of its proven reserves its global oil fields. It is simply commercial and operating risks of failure. The SEC and FSA chose to settle it out of court.

    OTHERWISE THE IMPLICATIONS is too big for business if directors are personally liable. There won’t be any director and no public listing. Peasants “eat grass” (hungry).

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  • oxygen:

    HERE IS ANOTHER “FAKE NEWS” in the gold-mining industry that is NOT. Lawmakers in LEE-jiapore’s House of the Most Expensive, but mostly useless decorations had better wake up. Commercial realities and law DO NOT MATCH like squinting eye love bird-and-bee fiction in matrimonial marriage. Concepts like “privacy” or “genuine/fake” construct are too vague to be quantified in statutory law.

    Still don’t believe me?

    Look at Rubicon Minerals Phoenix gold project in Canada’s Red Lake district in the prolific Timmins goldfields with a long hsitory well-endowed with rich, high grade, very profitable gold mines. Rubicon Minerals’ Phoenix gold project hold such promise of another rich discovery.

    Commissioning results came in far below expectations.

    Why? Geology was far more complex than surface drilling indications. On announcement, the share price plunged 68% in one day. The US$342 million project. It “conned” a whole bunch of gold-savvy institutional investors via massive capital raising exercise in a hot financial market for gold investments to fund head-on rushing into production, “promising the sky and delivering the earth”, so to speak without doing a bankable feasibility study.

    Analysts warned of disturbing signs of management’s actions/inactions to queries. Management shtum shtum shtum as institutional shareholders bailed out.

    Only 9 months in March 2016, after the first gold pour and its CEO left in a hurried silence in June 2015, did the management at Rubicon Minerals warned patient aggrieved shareholders.

    Rubicon Minerals Corp warns ‘significant doubt’ it can survive after breaching loan covenant

    So did Rubicon went under? Read these

    Rubicon Minerals, in 2017, consolidates McCuaig, adding to its substantial exploration properties in Red Lake, Ontario, Canada.

    Same narrow vein-type complex geology as its Phoenix project nearly downed Rubicon in 2016.

    SO THAT IS PROOF THAT “COMPLEX GEOLOGY” and its “cover-up” IS NOT THE KILLING FACTOR in the management mind. What went wrong? Read on.

    to be continued.

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  • oxygen:

    Continuiing from above on Rubicon Minerals case study.

    Rubicon Minerals begins test mining in Red Lake
    Bulk sampling program continues at Phoenix Gold Project

    This was August 2018 – just three months ago. Rubicon is confidently re-visiting the ghosts of Phoenix project with two programs of action.

    - a 25,000 to 30,000-tonne bulk sampling program of its F2 Gold Deposit.

    - a 20,000-metre drilling program that’s a combination of infill and step-out.

    And the results of that?

    Rubicon reports positive bulk sample reconciliation just a few days ago.

    Another bulk sampling campaign completed this summer and fall in the Red Lake district of Ontario has yielded a positive reconciliation with a previous resource model.

    SO THE GHOSTS OF “FAKE NEWS” from Rubicon Minerals 2016 of “complex geology” did NOT exists. Most recent bulk0-sampling “proves” positive reconciliation with the failed previous resource model construct thought to exist in 2016.

    The CEO who left silently must have other reasons on his mind what went wrong – contrary to analysts’ condemnation and market expectations/interpretation.

    Rubicon Minerals was NOT the first mining entity to enter into production without a BANKABLE FEASIBILITY STUDY. Tahoe Resources successfully commissioned Escobal silver mine also without a feasibility study. Today it is the world third largest silver mine.

    So the lessons of “FAKE NEWS” ghosts haunting Rubicon Minerals are neither

    - complex geology or

    - lack of rigorous technical feasibility study.

    Was that the excited rushing on to production set up unrealistic market expectation of rich gold investment opportunity which the first stage of commissioning (through sheer bad luck or “wrong” part of the orebody mined) failed to deliver – the REAL GHOSTS haunting its survival fight from 2015 till now?

    I don’t know.

    BUT IT IS NOT A CASE OF FAKE NEWS. No director was ever prosecuted for corporate disclosure or non-disclosure or for incompetence. It was just commercial realities inherent in any venture.

    If there had been fake news legislation in Canada, my bet is no one will step in to rescue Rubicon Minerals – the personal risks are too high if directorate carries personal liability.

    LEE-jiapore better wake up. Fake news legislation will set us backward in global competitiveness. We want to survive.

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  • oxygen:

    IF WE HAD FAKE NEWS LEGISLATION before 2008, our Town Councils which lost millions of rate-payers money on Lehman Brothers mini-bond saga will be happily suing financial institutions today??

    No banks will dare to sell investment banking products or corporates dare to raise bonds for survival money in our capital market.


    Surely, LEE-jiapore don’t want to be idiots cutting our noses to spike our faces alone, right?

    Or unless our intended “fake news” legislation is exactly that – FAKE!! No comprehension and recognition of commercial imperatives and its realities, perhaps.

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