Critics believe Singapore’s new ‘foreign interference law’ will further stifle free speech

Critics of Singapore’s new foreign interference legislation are worrying about how the island-nation’s government may weaponise the model new Bill to stifle free speech. But the Singaporean government maintains that its new Foreign Interference Countermeasures Act “is wanted to stop outdoors meddling in the metropolis state’s home affairs”.
Singapore’s strict regulatory and licensing environment, sweeping censorship and libel legal guidelines, has pushed the country’s rankings within the annual International Freedom of Speech Index, right down to a hundred and sixty out of one hundred eighty international locations – behind Russia, Brunei and Uzbekistan, and a swathe of different 3rd world countries.
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One of the government’s 10 opposition MPs says the FICA will be a “Trojan horse”, allowing the model new Bill for use as a blunt software in opposition to free speech and dissenting views.
The Foreign Interference Countermeasures Act was put to the vote by the ruling People’s Action Party last week. The get together holds eighty three of 93 of the country’s parliamentary seats. All supported the invoice, pushing it by way of with an enormous majority. The government says the new regulation is critical to counter potential incidents of “foreign interference”.
The new Bill can classify individuals, groups or NGOs as “politically vital persons” (or entities), and might include political events and members of parliament. Anyone who needs to attraction being branded this fashion will, in the future, should enchantment on to the Home Affairs Ministry, as a substitute of the country’s courts.
Among the rules any “politically significant” particular person or entity should declare any “arrangements” with “foreign principals” or donations of 10,000 SGD (about 246,000 THB)) or more.
There are also fines of 10,000 SGD or 14 years in jail for those that don’t declare their donations or allegiances. Entities could be fined up to 1 million SGD.
Kumaran Pillai, the writer of The Independent Singapore web site, which has 1.6 million distinctive visitors every month, says the new Bill has little readability on the model new powers of the Home Minister.
“Whether intentional or not, the government is setting up barriers to entry within the media landscape in Singapore.”

Independent media retailers in Singapore have an embattled historical past with the country’s notoriously draconian approach to controlling the political narrative, from native and overseas news providers.
Many overseas, and independent, information shops have been prevented from organising shops within the island-state, despite larger international media organisations prepared to throw cash on the projects to get began.
“Critics claim the Singaporean Government is attempting to “close off the internet, and management or ban alternative or critical voices.
Singapore’s media scene has been dominated by a near-duopoly for decades… Singapore Press Holdings, which publishes the government’s “cheer squad” every day nationwide newspaper, The Straits Times, and Mediacorp, for the island’s tv and radio stations.
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