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Pofma correction direction issued to activist Gilbert Goh over false claim a woman had nowhere to turn to for financial help

SINGAPORE — Activist Gilbert Goh will be required to publish a correction notice alongside his Facebook post for alleging that a woman had no one to turn to for urgent financial help, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said in a statement on Thursday (May 12).

Pofma correction direction issued to activist Gilbert Goh over false claim a woman had nowhere to turn to for financial help

Gilbert Goh at the State Courts in December 2021.

  • Activist Gilbert Goh will be required to publish a correction notice alongside his Facebook post
  • The post claimed that an unemployed woman had no one to turn to for urgent financial help
  • MSF said this "gave the impression that she and her partner have not received any assistance from MSF and other agencies"
  • The ministry said that the woman and her partner have been receiving financial assistance since June 2015 

SINGAPORE — Activist Gilbert Goh will be required to publish a correction notice alongside his Facebook post for alleging that a woman had no one to turn to for urgent financial help, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said in a statement on Thursday (May 12).

MSF said that it had instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office to issue a correction direction to Mr Goh because his social media post on the woman "gave the impression that she and her partner have not received any assistance from MSF and other agencies". 

Mr Goh will be required to publish a correction notice and the correct facts, but will not need to take down his post or make edits to the content.

The post, which was published on April 24, was an appeal from an unemployed woman claiming that there is “no one (she) can turn to” for help.  

She claimed that she needed urgent financial assistance for herself and her partner, as well as adult diapers, transportation and food. 

MSF said that the woman has been receiving ComCare assistance since June 2015 without any break in her monthly assistance.

Her last ComCare assistance period was from December 2021 to April 2022, before the current renewal from May 2022 to August 2022, with her monthly payout increased from May 2022 onwards, it added. 

Her partner has also been receiving ComCare assistance for various periods since June 2015, with his last assistance period from October 2021 to March 2022. It was renewed from April to September 2022. 

The ministry also said that the pair are receiving financial and non-financial assistance from various other agencies and community partners as well, including the Agency for Integrated Care, Islamic Religious Council of Singapore and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. 

The total financial assistance they are receiving is more than S$2,000 each month. 

This includes cash, rental assistance, assistance for service and conservancy charges, utility assistance and public healthcare assistance. 

The woman had not reached out to the ministry for more help before the Facebook post was published, MSF said.

The false statement in Mr Goh's post gives the impression "that MSF and other agencies are not aware of, or are not doing anything" about the woman's situation, the ministry added. 

"This is not the case, and it is important to set the facts straight.

"Such false statements erode public trust and lead to misunderstanding about the support and assistance being extended to needy families by MSF and other agencies."

As of Thursday morning, Mr Goh has included a correction notice alongside his post, as well as a link to the corrected facts on gov.sg. 

This is not the first time that he has received a correction direction.

He was asked to publish a correction notice in February 2020 after publishing a Facebook post claiming that a single mother and her six children were evicted from her government-built rental flat because she could not pay her rent. 

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Gilbert Goh activist Pofma MSF fake news Facebook correction

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