Singapore’s parliament has enacted a law on Monday that would allow authorities to block “Foreign Interference” online.
The law would give authorities the right to compel online platforms to provide user information, block content, and remove applications used to spread content the government deemed hostile.
The Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (Fica), was set to tackle foreign meddling in domestic politics conducted through hostile information campaigns and the use of local proxies.
“This Bill is intended to address a serious threat that concerns our national security and sovereignty,” Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said.
“Countries are actively developing attack and defense capabilities as an arm of warfare, equal to, and more potent than, the land, air, and naval forces,” Shanmugam added.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said the bill carries “the seeds of the worst totalitarian leanings.”
“This bill institutionalizes the persecution of any domestic entity that does not toe the line set by the government and ruling party, starting with independent media outlets,” Head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk Daniel Bastard said.
The law was approved after a 10-hour marathon session in the House on Monday, just over three weeks after it was extensively debated and tabled.
The punishment for violating this law would be some prison terms and hefty fines.
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