Academics, religious groups to kickstart public hearings on deliberate online falsehoods

Academics, religious groups to kickstart public hearings on deliberate online falsehoods

Academics from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU), as well as representatives from religious groups will kickstart the public hearings on deliberate online falsehoods on Wednesday (Mar 14). 

SINGAPORE: Academics from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU), as well as representatives from religious groups will kickstart the public hearings on deliberate online falsehoods on Wednesday (Mar 14). 

Institute of Policy Studies researchers Mathew Mathews, Carol Soon and Shawn Goh will be speaking. NTU will be represented by Assistant Professor Michael Raska, who is from the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies. SMU's law school dean Goh Yihan will also be speaking, as will lawyer Shrinivas Rai.

They are all scheduled to speak on the first day, according to information published on the Parliament website on Tuesday. The Select Committee on deliberate online falsehoods, which was formed in January to look at this particular issue, has set aside eight days for the hearings.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese, National Council of Churches Singapore and the Singapore Buddhist Federation will also have representatives giving oral representations on Wednesday.

Noteworthy speakers on Thursday include Dr Janis Berzins, director of Center for Security and Strategic Studies at the National Defense Academy of Latvia, Ukraine Crisis Media Center's Nataliia Popovych and Oleksiy Makhuhin and Mr Ben Nimmo, information defense fellow with the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab.  

Two sessions on Friday have been slated to be held in private as they "concern matters of national security and international relations", the website stated. 

The public hearings will be split into three tranches, with the first series of sessions lasting from Mar 14 to 16. Sessions will start from 11am on Wednesday, while subsequent tranches will begin at 10am, and will generally last the whole day until 5.30pm.

These hearings will be held at Parliament House, and are open to members of the public.

HIGHEST NUMBER OF WRITTEN REPRESENTATIONS

The select committee, chaired by Deputy Speaker of Parliament Charles Chong, has been charged with examining and reporting on the following:

  • The phenomenon of using digital technology to deliberately spread falsehoods online
  • The motivations and reasons for the spreading of such falsehoods, and the parties engaging in such activities
  • The consequences that the spread of online falsehoods can have on Singapore, including its institutions and democratic processes
  • How Singapore can prevent and combat online falsehoods: (i) the principles that should guide the response and (ii) any specific measures, including legislation, that should be taken

This particular select committee has attracted the highest number of written representations (164) compared with previous committees. It will also have the highest number of public hearing days (eight) as well as the number of witnesses invited to give oral representations (79 to date) in Singapore’s history.

By comparison, the select committee on the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill and Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment No. 2) Bill in 1988 garnered the next highest number of written representations with 99.

The next highest in terms of witnesses giving oral evidence was the select committee on the Companies (Amendment) Bill, with 47, while the select committee on the Goods and Services Tax Bill had the next highest number of hearing days with five.

Source: CNA/aa

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