28 Nov 2019

MHA Statement on the Issuance of Correction Direction Under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Against the “States Times Review”

1. A Correction Direction has been issued to the “States Times Review” Facebook page (“STR”) requiring STR to carry a correction notice stating that its article contains falsehoods.

 

2. On 23 November 2019, STR put up a Facebook post, which asserted that:


(a) “[t]he whistleblower who exposed the PAP candidate’s Christian affiliations has since been arrested, and fac[es] police charges for “fabricating fake news””; and

(b) “[t]he [NUSSU – NUS Students United (“NSU”)] page has since been taken down and the owner of the page is now under police investigation after Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam ordered the arrest.

 

3. These claims are false and baseless. No one has been arrested or charged arising from the NSU post. The Government did not request that Facebook take down the NSU post or disable the page. It was Facebook which removed the page on its own accord. As reported by the Singapore media on 23 November 2019, Facebook did so as the NSU page violated authenticity policies, and the fake accounts linked to the page failed Facebook's community and authenticity guidelines.

 


4. The STR article also makes various other scurrilous allegations including on our elections process. These allegations are absurd.

 

5. Singapore’s electoral system enjoys high public trust. Elections are held regularly and contested. The electoral system and its procedures are clearly spelt out in law, and apply to all political participants, regardless of affiliation. During the conduct of elections, there are equal opportunities for all political participants to observe and monitor the election process.

 

6. STR is run by Alex Tan Zhi Xiang, a 32-year-old Singaporean, who is not in Singapore. He is the editor of various websites including “Temasek Review News” and “Singapore Herald”. This is not the first time that these websites, as well as STR, have perpetuated outright fabrications, such as misrepresenting Singapore’s position in foreign relations with other countries and casting aspersions on the integrity of public institutions.

 

7. The websites have breached the Info-communications Media Development Authority’s Internet Code of Practice on the grounds of public interest, and have previously been blocked by IMDA.

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