Laws in place to deal with subversive online activities: MICA minister

Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said Tuesday that laws are in place to deal with anyone who conduct subversive activites online or through other means.

This is regardless whether the person conducting these activites is a local or a foreigner.

Dr Yaacob was responding to a question asked by Pasir Ris-Punggol Member of Parliament (MP) Gan Thiam Poh on what measures there were to prevent foreigners from interfering in Singapore's politics and affecting domestic stability through social media.

He explained that groups involved in the discussion of political issues can be gazetted under the Political Donations Act as political associations.

This prevents them from receiving funds from and falling under the influence of foreigners seeking to use them as platforms to subvert Singapore's political processes.

Secondly, if a foreigner uses social media to stir up ill-will and hostility amongst different racial and religious groups in Singapore, or to spread seditious materials, this could constitute a prosecutable offence under the Sedition Act and/or Penal Code.

Thirdly, the Broadcasting Act and its Regulations give the Media Development Authority (MDA) the power to order websites to take down specific pieces of content that breach the Broadcasting Act Class Licence.

These include content which are against the public interest, public order or national harmony.

The Class License may be cancelled or suspended if MDA's orders are not obeyed. The offender may also be prosecuted.

But Dr Yaacob added that the government recognises that Internet use and behaviour are evolving.

Hence, there is the need to constantly review whether the regulations that Singapore has in place are adequate.

paullim@sph.com.sg