Singapore invokes fake news law for the first time

Singapore has invoked a law against fake news for the first time, targeting an opposition party member over a Facebook post.

Singapore authorities said on Monday that Brad Bowyer has been asked to correct false statements about investments made by government-linked companies.

Bowyer wrote on Facebook earlier this month that the companies invested 4 billion Singapore dollars, or about 2.7 billion dollars, into urban development in India. He implied that the companies acted on the wishes of the Singapore government.

The authorities said the government was not behind the project and the cost of investment was limited to several million Singapore dollars.

Bowyer posted a correction notice on Facebook in which he denied using false and misleading statements to smear government-linked firms. He also urged the government to ensure more transparency, clarification and accountability.

The fake news law was introduced in Singapore last month. The government says the legislation is necessary to maintain order in a multiethnic state. But civic groups say the law could be abused to crack down on political dissent.