Thomas Jefferson

A letter to John Norvell,

 1807

Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens, who, reading newspapers, live and die in the belief that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time. Perhaps an editor might begin a reformation in some such way as this: Divide his paper into four chapters, heading the first “Truths,” second “Probabilities,” third “Possibilities,” fourth “Lies.” The first chapter would be very short, as it would contain little more than authentic papers, and information from such sources as the editor would be willing to risk his own reputation for their truth. The second would contain what, from a mature consideration of all circumstances, his judgment should conclude to be probably true. The third and fourth should be professedly for those readers who would rather have lies for their money than the blank paper they would occupy. Such an editor, too, would have to set his face against the demoralizing practice of feeding the public mind habitually on slander, and the depravity of taste which this nauseous aliment induces. Defamation is becoming a necessary of life, insomuch that a dish of tea, in the morning or evening, cannot be digested without this stimulant. Even those who do not believe these abominations still read them with complacence to their auditors and, instead of the abhorrence and indignation which should fill a virtuous mind, betray a secret pleasure in the possibility that some may believe them, though they do not themselves.

Parliament of Singapore

Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act,

 2019

The purpose of this act is (a) to prevent the communication of false statements of fact in Singapore and to enable measures to be taken to counteract the effects of such communication; (b) to suppress the financing, promotion, and other support of online locations that repeatedly communicate false statements of fact in Singapore; (c) to enable measures to be taken to detect, control, and safeguard against coordinated inauthentic behavior and other misuses of online accounts and bots; and (d) to enable measures to be taken to enhance disclosure of information concerning paid content directed toward a political end.

In this act (a) a statement of fact is a statement that a reasonable person seeing, hearing, or otherwise perceiving it would consider to be a representation of fact; and (b) a statement is false if it is false or misleading, whether wholly or in part, and whether on its own or in the context in which it appears.

A person guilty of an offense shall be liable on conviction (a) in the case of an individual, to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both; or (b) in any other case, to a fine not exceeding $500,000.

A Correction Direction may require the person to whom it is issued to communicate in Singapore a correction notice in a specified online location. A person who communicated a false statement of fact in Singapore may be issued a Correction Direction even if the person does not know or has no reason to believe that the statement is false.

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