Singapore Government and Media
Government Type: Parliamentary Democratic Republic
Head of the state: The President Halimah Yacob. The president is mostly a figurehead and has limited powers as a head of state.
Leader: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Political Party: The People’s Action Party (PAP)
Political Position: Center-Right
World Press Freedom Rank: Singapore 158/180
In 2019, the Singapore Parliament has passed a “fake news” law, which aims to tackle fake news. In 2020, Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran told Parliament that the “Government has debunked 40 instances of fake news on COVID-19” which includes “speculation, rumors, scams and outright falsehoods.” Critics, on the other hand, say the fake news bill gives the government too much power, such as allowing ministers to decide what is fake news. According to Reporters without borders “As a result of judicial and financial pressure from the authorities, self-censorship is widespread, including within the alternative independent media.
Government Influence on Media: The Media of Singapore such as broadcast media, print media, and the Internet is controlled by the Singapore government through Singapore Press Holdings (SPH)-publisher of the English-language daily The Straits Times and MediaCorp, which is owned by the government’s investment arm/investment vehicle Temasek Holdings. (Temasek means Singapore in Malay) Temasek’s sole shareholder is the Singapore Minister for Finance.
The Info-communications Media Development Authority (“the IMDA”) is under the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI). As a statutory board in the Singapore government, it describes itself as “develops and regulates the converging Infocomm and media sectors in a holistic way.” CNA reports that in 2019, the IMDA launched $20m in funding to media projects in Singapore.
In conclusion, the Government subsidizes most of the media including public broadcasting organizations and the Government has direct and indirect control over the media outlets since most of them are owned and financed through the government through entities like Temasek.