Pofma direction issued to social media page for false video showing South Asian travellers at Changi Airport despite ban
SINGAPORE — The administrators of a social media page that posted a video showing a large group of travellers from South Asia arriving at Changi Airport are being issued a correction direction by the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) office.
- Singapore Incidents posted on social media a video showing South Asian travellers at Changi Airport
- A watermark on the video showed the date to be May 5, after a travel ban to five South Asian countries was enacted here
- The Ministry of Transport said the video was taken at least a month ago
SINGAPORE — The administrators of a Facebook page and Instagram account that posted a video showing a large group of travellers from South Asia arriving at Changi Airport are being issued a correction direction by the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) office.
Singapore Incidents had posted the video on Wednesday (May 5) on Facebook and Instagram and implied that the travellers were entering Singapore even though there was a travel ban in place for visitors from South Asia.
“The information in the video is false,” the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said in a statement on Friday, adding that the Pofma office has been instructed by Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung to issue the direction.
The correction direction requires the page to carry a correction notice on its Facebook and Instagram channels stating that the posts contain falsehoods.
The video, which has a watermark stating the date as May 5, shows dozens of passengers arriving at Changi Airport Terminal 1 while a clock in frame shows the time to be 2.53pm.
However, there were no flights from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka that arrived at any terminal in the airport between 8am and 3.30pm that day, MOT said.
Furthermore, the video shows the passengers walking past a renovation hoarding at two gate-hold rooms, but that hoarding had been removed a month earlier on April 5, the ministry added.
The original videos are no longer available on the Singapore Incidents' social media page and account.
On Thursday, the day after the videos were posted, the administrators posted an apology to their Facebook page acknowledging that the post was “misleading” and explaining that they had taken the video from two other sources on Facebook.
“We checked the iChangi App on the 5th of May, there were two flights coming from India (IX688 Hyderabad>Chennai>SG at T1 05:20) & (IX682 Tiruchirappali at T1 16:10). The latter flight and the two original (Facebook) posts were two to three hours apart. Hence we took it as credible,” the post read.
“Overall, we deeply regretted that we gave false information on the date of the video.”
Since April 23, all long-term visit pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to India have been barred from entering or transiting through Singapore following a surge of Covid-19 cases in the South Asian country.
And from May 1, the entry ban was extended to all long-term visit pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
MOT said in its statement on Friday: “While there are still passenger flights arriving in Singapore from South Asia, these flights carry primarily returning Singapore citizens and permanent residents, cargo, or fly in empty to pick up passengers in Singapore who are returning to South Asia.”
On May 5, for example, there were five passenger flights arriving in Singapore from South Asia, carrying a total of 50 passengers, all of whom were returning Singapore citizens or permanent residents.
All passengers arriving from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are subject to stringent border control and health measures, including being escorted through the airport separately from passengers from other countries, the ministry said.
“We are aware of other similar videos spreading on social media. We urge members of the public not to spread unverified information and to rely on information from trusted official websites and social media pages.”