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Govt directs States Times Review to correct Facebook post containing falsehoods; second order issued in 4 days

SINGAPORE — The Government on Thursday (Nov 28) directed the States Times Review (STR) Facebook page to carry a correction notice on one of its posts which contains “false and baseless” claims.

Govt directs States Times Review to correct Facebook post containing falsehoods; second order issued in 4 days

The Government has issued a correction direction under the fake news laws against the States Times Review (STR) Facebook page, requiring STR to carry a correction notice saying that its article contains falsehoods.

SINGAPORE — The Government on Thursday (Nov 28) directed the States Times Review (STR) Facebook page to carry a correction notice on one of its posts which contains “false and baseless” claims. 

This is the second such direction to be issued in four days, after the Government made a similar order on Monday on opposition member Brad Bowyer.

The latest direction was made by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) against a post by STR on Nov 23, which alleged that “in a bid to garner Christian support… and possibly turn Singapore into a Christian state”, the People’s Action Party will be fielding a Christian evangelist in the upcoming General Election. 

The post went on to claim that the “whistleblower” who had exposed the PAP candidate’s Christian affiliations had been arrested and faced police charges for fabricating fake news.

The post also said that the NUSSU – NUS Students United page, which had carried a post about this supposed candidate, had been taken down and that the owner of the page was under police investigation after Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam ordered the arrest.

“These claims are false and baseless,” the MHA said. 

“No one has been arrested or charged arising from the NUSSU – NUS Students United post. The Government did not request that Facebook take down the NUSSU – NUS Students United post or disable the page.”

It was Facebook which removed the page of its own accord, the MHA added. It noted that Facebook did so as the NUSSU – NUS Students United page violated authenticity policies, and the fake accounts linked to the page failed Facebook's community and authenticity guidelines.

The MHA said: “The STR article also makes various other scurrilous allegations including on our elections process. These allegations are absurd.”

The MHA also noted that this is not the first time that STR, as well as two other websites run by Mr Alex Tan, Temasek Review News and Singapore Herald, 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”.

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

STR RESPONDS

In a post on the STR Facebook page after the order was issued, Mr Tan, who lives in Australia, said he had not received any request from the Australian Federal Police or the authorities to take down any article.

As a citizen of Australia, he added, he "will not comply with any order from a foreign government like North Korea or Singapore".

In a second post, he wrote: "I am happy to go to 10 years' jail for it, so there shall be no compliance... the site is based in Australia and it obeys only Australian jurisdiction. No foreign government orders or censorship demands will be acceded with (sic)."

If the directives under the fake-news laws are not followed, the Government can compel internet platforms to disable access to the website. 

An individual, whether in or outside Singapore, who has been issued an order and fails to comply without reasonable excuse, is liable to a fine of up to S$20,000, a jail term of up to 12 months, or both.

TODAY has reached out to the MHA and Facebook for comment.

Related topics

fake news Ministry of Home Affairs States Times Review Alex Tan

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