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Pofma correction direction issued to The Independent Singapore over false claims that Shanmugam may be stepping down

SINGAPORE — Alternative news site The Independent Singapore (TISG) has been issued with a correction direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) for claiming in an article that Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam may be stepping down from his ministerial positions.

A screenshot of Mr Toh Han Shih's Twitter account showing a Pofma correction notice appended to a tweet Mr Shih had sent on April 21, 2022.
A screenshot of Mr Toh Han Shih's Twitter account showing a Pofma correction notice appended to a tweet Mr Shih had sent on April 21, 2022.

SINGAPORE — Alternative news site The Independent Singapore (TISG) has been issued with a correction direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) for claiming in an article that Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam may be stepping down from his ministerial positions.

The article published on the TISG website on Thursday (April 21) had the headline: “K Shanmugam says he may step down as Singapore’s Minister of Law and Home Affairs”. It was also carried on TISG's Facebook page and Twitter account.

Its author, Mr Toh Han Shih, also shared the article on his personal Twitter account on Thursday. By 2.45pm on Friday, Mr Toh had appended the required correction notice above the tweet.

In a press release on Friday, the Law Ministry said: “The headline was clickbait, giving the false impression that the Minister for Law and Home Affairs said he may be stepping down from his ministerial positions.”

“The first paragraph of the article stated that the minister 'revealed' in an interview with Vanakkam Malaysia that he may step down as Singapore’s Minister for Law and Home Affairs, but gave no specific time as to when he might do so.

"Again, this gave the false impression that the Minister said he may be stepping down from his ministerial positions,” the ministry said.

TISG’s article had drawn on a recent video interview Mr Shanmugam conducted with Vanakkam Malaysia that was shared on the minister’s Facebook page on April 19.

Mr Shanmugam, 63, spoke about his childhood, and his journey since entering politics in 1988 in the interview.

“The minister did not say during the video interview with Vanakkam Malaysia that he may be stepping down from his ministerial positions or that he is contemplating doing so,” said the ministry.

“It is quite false to state, from the interview, that the minister said that he may be stepping down from his positions.

"In addition, viewing the whole video will show that the minister, when he spoke about his own views, also intended his comments to be of general application, for persons holding ministerial appointments,” added the ministry.

During the interview, Mr Shanmugam had said that "he must be ready to leave when he no longer has the people's support" and that he "should be ready to move on when there are capable leaders to replace him", among other statements.

The correction direction will require TISG and Mr Toh to carry correction notices on their online platforms that published the article, stating that it contains a false statement of fact.

The correction notices must also carry a link to an article published on the Government’s fact-checking website Factually, which lays out the facts and clarifications on the matter.

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Pofma The Independent Singapore Ministry of Law correction directions

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