Using Fake News Laws for Censorship

When the Government Says You're Fake News

In April [2019], legislation was introduced that would empower the [Singapore] government to demand that sites take down stories deemed—by the state—to be "fake news." Officials would also be able to force social media sites such as Facebook to include "warnings" on posts declared false. Resisting these orders and maligning the government could earn a person or company fines of up to $740,000 and potentially incarceration.

Representatives of the Asia Internet Coalition, an industry association of leading internet companies including Facebook, Google, and Twitter, warned that the bill "gives the Singapore government full discretion over what is true or false." The group calls the plan an "overreach" that "poses significant risks to freedom of expression and speech, and could have severe ramifications both in Singapore and around the world.”

In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new law that allows government officials to charge individuals and online media for spreading fake news or information that insults state symbols or officials. As in Singapore, violators face fines and potentially jail time.

When critics yelled "censorship" at the Russian government, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed out that this area of "fake news" is "under strict regulation in many countries of the world, even in European states.”

Last November, at the urging of President Emmanuel Macron, the French parliament passed a law allowing judges to order the removal of what they deem "fake news" during the three months before an election. It also gave the country's national broadcasting agency the authority to suspend foreign television channels that distribute allegedly false information that might affect a French election. State-run Russia Today interpreted that part of the law as explicitly targeting itself and complained about the censorship. Then Russia put into place even harsher laws.


That France, Russia, and Singapore are all on the same page is a stark reminder that governments almost universally want to stop the distribution of some political messages while mandating the distribution of others.

A third component of Macron's policy recently bit the French government on the derriere. The country now requires media companies to disclose who paid for political advertisements and to maintain a database showing who is responsible for sponsored political messages being promoted through their platforms. Rather than deal with these new obligations, Twitter stopped accepting political advertisements in France altogether. As a result, the company decided in April it would not run government ads encouraging citizens to vote in May elections for the European Parliament.

I'm sure that the current POTUS is seeing these developments around the globe and thinking, "I want that!".

France is still in the midst of protests over inequality.

Billionaires raced to pledge money to rebuild Notre Dame. Then came the backlash. (Washington Post)

For all of you posters below bemoaning a "bad reaction" to philanthropists, "it's their money", and there are billionaires in Brazil and what not.
I get it.

This article was TRYING to raise a big point, but failed to do so very miserably.

If you read French (and French news), if you even read European news in English - you would KNOW what the "backlash" was about.

It was not about a Brazilian Museum, or aid for Yemen, or even taxes on charitable donations.

The "backlash" in France specifically is about a handful of people raising $2 bln in two days. Just like that. 3 families raised $700 mln in less than 24 hrs.

France - until now - used to think of herself as a more-or-less egalitarian society. 75% tax on income etc.

Then comes a House of Jesus' Mother burning - then BAHM. 3 families donate $700 mln within 12 hrs of each other.

THIS IS what France is aghast about.

Egalitarianism is a SHAM even in France.

The French just realized it. That's what they are "backlashing" about.

I predict the Yellow Vests going truly mental any time soon - because NOW they know how much money there is in France that is denied to all of them.

While some people were "mourning" the loss of a 200-year-old religious building I could care less about, 10,000 people have died in Yemen.