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SDP files first High Court appeal to challenge manpower minister’s Pofma action

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has filed an appeal with the High Court to challenge Manpower Minister Josephine Teo’s correction direction — the first court challenge against a minister’s directive since the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) came into effect in October last year.

The Singapore Democratic Party was directed to correct two Facebook posts and an article on its website.

The Singapore Democratic Party was directed to correct two Facebook posts and an article on its website.

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SINGAPORE — The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has filed an appeal with the High Court to challenge Manpower Minister Josephine Teo’s correction direction — the first court challenge against a minister’s directive since the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) came into effect in October last year.

The case will be heard next Thursday, Jan 16, at 10am.

“The SDP will not be engaging counsel but will, instead, argue the matter ourselves,” the party said in a statement on Wednesday (Jan 8).

The Manpower Ministry said it has been notified about the SDP’s High Court appeal.

The SDP’s challenge comes after Mrs Teo rejected the party’s application to cancel three correction directions issued to the party, over an article and two Facebook posts that the Government said contained falsehoods and a misleading graphic.

A correction direction is issued to a person who has communicated a falsehood that affects the public interest.

It requires the recipient to publish a correction notice with the facts, but does not require the post to be taken down or edits made. The order also does not impose criminal sanctions.

Mrs Teo’s directive is the third Pofma action taken by ministers. The first was against Progress Singapore Party member Brad Bowyer by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, followed by one against alternative website States Times Review by Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung also issued a correction direction to opposition politician Lim Tean, the fourth minister to do so, and the last one thus far.

In its media statement, the SDP said it has explained clearly in its application to Mrs Teo why she was wrong to issue the correction orders.

Mrs Teo said on Monday that SDP’s application “does not provide sufficient grounds for the cancellation of the correction directions”, which SDP called an “arrogant dismissal”.

“We are therefore left with no choice but to pursue the matter in the High Court. We look forward to Ms Teo explaining her decision on the witness stand,” read SDP’s statement.

The party said it has “deliberated the matter at length” and is taking it to the courts to “stand up for our fellow Singaporeans and fight for what little space we have left in Singapore to uphold our democratic freedoms”.

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fake news SDP Pofma Ministry of Manpower Josephine Teo PMET retrenchment

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