Written by Bertrand Seah

Public hearings have commenced by the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods. This comes after the Select Committee received 164 submissions from academics, public figures, civil society actors and members of the public on recommendations for dealing with this supposed threat. The first week of hearings consisted mostly of a fairly sedate lineup of establishment figures – including researchers from think tanks like the Institute of Policy Studies, professors from Singapore’s public universities, as well as leaders of religious groups – and reiterated many of the stances the government has already outlined.

The hearings will continue over the coming week, and will likely get more heated as more critical voices take the stage. The second week has already begun in heated fashion, with Minister Shanmugam clashing with representatives from tech giants. How much weight the Select Committee gives to more critical statements remains to be seen – comments from Ministers seem to suggest they are already set in their views, as seen in this rather unfortunate comparison of online falsehoods with Singapore’s anti-drug stance.

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