Monday, April 23, 2018

Law against "deliberate fake news"

The government wants to pass legislation to stop "deliberate fake news".

I think that the emphasis should be on "deliberate". They want to make it illegal for people to fabricate news that are untrue and spread them to create trouble.

Does this mean that it is not an offence for someone to spread a untrue news if it was not deliberate, i.e. they were not aware that it was untrue? Are they required to verify the truth of the news before they spread it? Are they required to prove that they were not aware that it was untrue?

This can be a tricky question.

What about jokes and satire? Are they considered as "fake news"?

Suppose I said that PM Lee has three legs. I meant it as a joke. How will it be treated?

Sometimes, we spin a story that is not true. But people reading or listening to it will know that it is meant to be a joke or satire. Will the new law make people avoid expressing their view using this means?

Life will be most boring. Already, we are a boring people, who are not willing to voice any opinion. Do we want them to be even totally silent?

I now like to give my views on "news" that I read in the mainstream or social media.

I apply my common sense. Do I believe in what was said? I will usually not trust it entirely, even if it comes from the government. I know that the government has an agenda to slant the news to make them look good.

If it make sense, I trust it. I also rely on the views of other thinking people before I accept it.

Perhaps we should allow people to develop and use their common sense in dealing with "news" rather than pass a law to decide on what is and is not "fake news".

Do you agree?

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