24 Jan 2020

Rejection of Application by “The Online Citizen” to Cancel Correction Direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act

1.     The Minister for Home Affairs has rejected an application (the “Application”) by “The Online Citizen” (“TOC”) to cancel the Correction Direction issued to it on 22 January 2020, pursuant to section 11 of the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).

 

2.     On 16 January 2020, TOC published an article on its website, which contained falsehoods asserting that:

 

“prison officers were instructed to carry out the following brutal procedure whenever the rope breaks during a hanging, which happens from time to time.

 

a) The prison officer is instructed to pull the rope around the neck of the prisoner towards him.

b) Meanwhile, another prison officer will apply pressure by pulling the body in the opposite direction.

c) The first officer must then kick the back of the neck of the prisoner with great force in order to break it.

d) The officers are told to kick the back of the neck because that would be consistent with death by hanging.

e) The officers are told not to kick more than 2 times, so that there will be no tell-tale marks in case there is an autopsy.

f) Strict orders are also given not to divulge the above to other prison staff not involved in executions.”

 

3.     A Correction Direction was issued to TOC on 22 January 2020, requiring it to insert a correction notice stating that the article contained false statements of fact, with a link to a Factually article that sets out the correct facts. These false statements of fact were also refuted in MHA’s statement dated 22 January 2020.

 

4.     The conditions for the issuance of the Correction Direction had been satisfied, and the Application did not disclose any grounds to the contrary. After having carefully considered the Application, the Minister for Home Affairs has decided to reject it. TOC has been notified of the rejection.

 

5.     For the correct facts, please refer to https://www.gov.sg/article/factually-clarifications-on-falsehoods-posted-by-lawyers-for-liberty.

 

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