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From Singapore to France: These countries have created laws to fight fake news

If the posts are found to be provocative or malicious to Singapore's interest, in that case the offender could face a jail term up to 10 years or fines up to S$1 million

Mansi Jaswal        Last Updated: May 10, 2019  | 10:58 IST
From Singapore to France: These countries have created laws to fight fake news
Human rights activists fear laws to curb so-called 'fake news' could be abused to silence protest.

Singapore on Wednesday passed an anti-fake news law that will give the State government power to order social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google to block and remove 'fake' content from the platforms.

If the posts are found to be provocative or malicious to Singapore's interest, in that case the offender could face a jail term up to 10 years or fines up to S$1 million ($735,000).

The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act was passed on Wednesday by a vote of 72-9 majority, a lawmaker with the opposition Worker's Party, Daniel Goh, said on Facebook.

Singapore says it is vulnerable to fake news because of its position as a global financial hub, mixed ethnic population and widespread internet access.

Globally, governments and companies are apprehensive about the spread of false information online and its impact on everything from elections to social unrest.

However, human rights activists fear laws to curb so-called 'fake news' could be abused to silence protest.

Check out the countries where 'anti-fake news' law exists:

SINGAPORE

Singapore, which ranks 151 among 180 countries rated in World Press Freedom Index report 2019, defines "public interests" as threats to its security, foreign relation and electoral integrity of the government and state institutions. The new law  to combat fake news will require social media platforms to carry warnings on posts the government deems false.

Penalty: Violations could attract fines of up to S$ 1 million ($737,500) and 10 years in prison.

RUSSIA

In April, this year, Russian President Vladmir Putin signed a law that give power to the state to block websites and impose fines on Russians who spread what the authorities regard as fake news or who show disrespect towards the government online.

Penalty: Individuals can be fined up to 400,000 rouble ($6,120) for circulating false information online

FRANCE

France passed two anti-fake news laws in 2018. The laws allow the authority to suspend television channels "controlled by a foreign state " if they disseminate false information.

This means France has the power to take on any foreign TV station suspected of spreading "false news."

Penalty: Anyone who violates the law could face one year in prison and a fine of 75,000 euro.

GERMANY

Last year, Germany enforced a law that demanded social media sites to remove hate speech, illegal or fake news from their platform. Called NetzDG for short, the law gives social media networks 24 hours deadline to remove provocative content or face fines of up to 50 million euros. 

Also read: Facebook expands fact-checking network in India, adds 5 more partners to spot fake news

Also read: State-level nodal officers to help Election Commission take on fake news, hate speech on social media

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