Blogger named so as to be fair to online community: Yaacob

Blogger named so as to be fair to online community: Yaacob
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim. TODAY file photo
Published: 8:44 PM, July 10, 2013
Updated: 1:40 PM, July 11, 2013

SINGAPORE — Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim has defended his pinpointing of blogger Ravi Philemon being one example of those who spread false information online about the recent haze during Monday’s Parliament session.

He cited specific individuals and specific sites because “otherwise, the majority in the online community may be inadvertently associated with spreading rumours”, Dr Yaacob wrote on his Facebook page today (July 10).

“That would be unfair, because they were not spreading rumours, and ... there were many examples of Singaporeans pulling together and using the Internet to help do good as well as clarify doubts.”

On a June 22 post on his Facebook page, Mr Philemon had cited an unnamed friend as saying that nine million masks will be brought into Singapore for the haze, but “none will be for the public”.

The blogger was then named as an example of those who spread false information and hoaxes about the haze, when Dr Yaacob addressed Parliament on the Government’s efforts to ensure Singaporeans receive accurate and timely information during crisis situations.

Dr Yaacob also wrote today that the upshot of Mr Philemon’s post was that the Government’s announcement the previous day that it would distribute the masks to 200,000 low-income households for free is not true.

“But what is his basis for suggesting so? The truth is, he had no basis for his assertion,” said the minister. “I am happy to learn that he distributed some masks to people in the community. But let’s be clear – doing good offline does not mean one is excused from acting responsibly online.”