Cherian George, Jolovan Wham to speak at public hearings on deliberate online falsehoods

Cherian George, Jolovan Wham to speak at public hearings on deliberate online falsehoods

Jolovan Wham Cherian George composite
Academic Cherian George and civil society activist Jolovan Wham. (Photos: Hong Kong Baptist University / AFP)

SINGAPORE: Academic Cherian George and social worker and civil rights activist Jolovan Wham will give their opinions on issues surrounding deliberate online falsehoods on Tuesday (Mar 27).

They will be among representatives from groups including the National Library Board (NLB), local website The Online Citizen and human rights non-governmental organisation MARUAH which will make representations to the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods.

NLB will be represented by its director Wai Yin Pryke, senior manager for engagement Sara Pek and assistant director of content and services, general reference, statutory and digital content Chow Wun Han.

Professor George, who lectures at the School of Communication at Hong Kong Baptist University, will also make representations at the public hearing, as will PhD student Howard Lee and journalist Kirsten Han.

Prof George's representation comes just weeks after the Hong Kong-based academic wrote in a blog post about a delay in approval for a talk he had been invited to give at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Meanwhile, civil rights activist Jolovan Wham will be representing Community Action Network (CAN), a civil rights campaign group, while Vice President of human rights organisation MARUAH Ngiam Shih Tung will also be present, along with representatives from interfaith initiative Roses of Peace.

Local website The Online Citizen, which aims to be a platform for "alternative voices" in Singapore, will be represented by its chief editor Terry Xu.

Others who will be making representations include Prof Hany Farid, Professor and Chair of Computer Science at Dartmouth College; Mr Benjamin Ang, Senior Fellow and Coordinator for Cyber and Homeland Defence at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University; entrepreneur Hazrul A Jamari; and lawyer Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim.

The Select Committee began its series of public hearings on deliberate online falsehoods earlier this month at Parliament House.

It has seen heated exchanges between committee members and those being questioned, with a Facebook representative last week telling Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam that the social media giant had a "moral obligation" to inform users earlier about the breach in its policies involving political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Senior editors from Mediacorp and Singapore Press Holdings also advocated fact-checking as a countermeasure against the trend of fake news online, while telcos Singtel and StarHub said they opposed imposing new laws on network service providers but supported more legislation for tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter.

Source: CNA/nc