Falsehoods, foreign interference and free speech in Singapore

Singapore has implemented legal measures to combat online misinformation, enacting in quick succession the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (“POFMA”) and the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (“FICA”). These statutes confer upon government authorities the power to compel the authors of certain material to display notices stating that the material contains falsehoods or originated from a hostile information campaign. Yet, should one accept that the constitutional right to freedom of speech extends to the freedom not to speak, the compulsion of such expressions may well be unconstitutional. This paper will study the theoretical justifications for a prohibition against compelled speech, propose a doctrinal framework to analyse compelled expressions by reference to US, UK, and Canadian jurisprudence, and critically assess how the POFMA and FICA would fare under such a doctrine.