Published: 02 June 2023
1. We refer to the article, “Asia Sentinel answer to Singapore Government Demand for Correction” on Asia Sentinel’s website.
2. Under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019 (“POFMA”), a Correction Direction may be issued if a false statement of fact has been or is being communicated in Singapore and it is in the public interest to do so. As Asia Sentinel’s article, “Singapore kills a Chicken to Scare the Monkeys” (“the Article”), which contains false statements of fact, is made available to end-users in Singapore, it is being communicated in Singapore.
3. POFMA’s primary tool to correct falsehoods is via a correction notice, which must be placed in a specified proximity to the original post with a link to the Government’s clarification. This is akin to the right of reply practised by newspapers and magazines. POFMA does not require the original post to be removed. Instead, the clarification sets out the falsehoods and facts for the public. Readers can read both the original post and the facts and decide for themselves what is the truth.
4. The Correction Direction issued to Asia Sentinel does not require Asia Sentinel to take down the Article. It only requires Asia Sentinel to post the correction notice, in the manner that has been stipulated in the Correction Direction. Similar requirements have been placed on other recipients of Correction Directions and they have complied. If Asia Sentinel truly believes in free speech, it should be happy for its readers to read both the Article and the correction notice, and make up their own minds which is true.
5. While Asia Sentinel has published the correction notice, it has not done so in the required form and manner, as specified in the Correction Direction. If it does not do so, the Government may have to take further action.