A new bill passed in the Singapore parliament yesterday, Feb 27, barred people from taking and sending pictures and videos of ongoing police operations.
This Public Order and Safety (Special Powers) Bill is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) ongoing efforts to combat the threat of terrorism.
Denying the terrorists access to information on Police's ongoing tactical operations to neutralise the attack, is critical for the success of the operations, said a press statement by the Home Affairs Ministry. Leakage of such information to the terrorists could endanger the lives of security officers and members of the public who are caught in the attack.
The media statement cited the example of the Mumbai attacks in 2008. Live media broadcast of security forces preparing to storm the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel allowed the gunmen within to anticipate the actions of the security forces.
In another cause, in the January 2015 attack on the Hyper Cacher Deli in Paris, the terrorist who was holding several hostages in the deli was able to watch live television broadcasts showing Police officers outside preparing to storm the deli.
In both incidents, the information available to the terrorists "made the police operation more difficult, reduced the chances of a successful operation, and put the safety of the officers and hostages at greater risk."
The Bill therefore proposes that the police be empowered to stop all persons in the incident area to stop making or communicating films or pictures of the incident area. Those present are also not allowed to communicate text or audio messages about the ongoing security operations in the incident area.
Police will also be able to take down or disable any drones and autonomous vehicles and vessels in and around the incident area, regardless of their intention and activity. The reason being such devices could be used for surveillance by the terrorists or even as weapons.