Shanmugam: 'Express what you want, but identify yourself'

Shanmugam: 'Express what you want, but identify yourself'
Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans are free to express their views on the internet, said Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam at The Straits Times Global Outlook Forum on Friday, but they should identify themselves when doing so.

"Put down your name. Nobody's talking about freedom of speech. You can express whatever comments you want. But just identify yourself.

I can imagine that they will be uncomfortable if they want to talk, say untruths, if they want to bully.

But if they are attacking policies, if they are expressing their views on policies, why should they be uncomfortable in any event?"

Recently, several government websites were hacked by an anonymous group, protesting the licensing rules for news websites.

The internet licensing scheme took effect in June, raising concerns over the freedom of expression online.

Mr Shanmugam stressed that the government has no intention to regulate the internet and the laws are put in place as a deterrence to encourage responsible discussion.

"We do need to protect people a bit more from cyber-bullying and that kind of harassment. And we need to give people self-help remedies where it doesn't amount to harassment but where there are all sorts of inaccuracies. You don't need to go and sue for civil damages and so on, just give people the right to correct."

In the 90-minute dialogue Mr Shanmugam fielded questions from international politics to issues at home.

When asked about allegations that Singapore had spied on its neighbours, he said that Singapore will not do anything to harm the interests of Malaysia and Indonesia.

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