• Articles

Authoritarian Rule of Law’s Strategic Lexicon: Singapore Legislates Against “Fake News”


Featured in Rule of Law: Cases, Strategies, and Interpretations (Rozani Editore) 

As a socio-political concept, the beating heart of rule of law is law’s capacity to scrutinize and limit power by preventing arbitrary and excessively discretionary exercises of authority. Rule of law’s suspicion of untrammeled power become especially important when political power is authoritarian. Delving into the texts and contexts of Singapore state’s insistence that it is properly rule of law, I have identified the dynamics, discourses, and relations of authoritarian rule of law. My analysis shows how authoritarian politics deploys rule of law discourse, scrupulously performing law as procedure, even as civil and political rights, and substantive restraints on, and scrutiny of, state power are dismantled. This essays analyses the language of Singapore’s 2019 Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act, legislation updating the state’s already considerable control of the public sphere through a policing of messages on the internet and social media platforms to demonstrate authoritarian rule of law’s entrenched quality and its capacity to invert rule-of-law ideals and orientations.