POFMA case: SDP amends article but insists it did not misrepresent AGC

POFMA case: SDP amends article but insists it did not misrepresent AGC

SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan and chairman Paul Tambyah speaking at a press conference
SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan and chairman Paul Tambyah speaking at a press conference on Sep 2, 2015. (File photo: Sarah Yang)

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) on Thursday night (Jan 23) made corrections to an article on its website which was said to be misleading, but maintained that it did not misrepresent the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) as alleged.

The article published on Jan 18, Whether A Statement Is True or False Cannot Be ‘Based On The Minister’s Interpretation', commented on the proceedings of an ongoing case under the online falsehoods law.

READ: AGC says SDP articles misrepresented its arguments in POFMA case, seeks new hearing

The AGC took issue with the article and asked for an additional hearing with the judge on the matter, which took place on Thursday.

SDP agreed to make the "necessary corrections" to the article, said AGC on Thursday in a media release.

"The article falsely suggested that it is the AGC’s case that the minister’s interpretation of a subject statement is determinative of its meaning under POFMA. This is incorrect," said the AGC. 

"The AGC’s position is that it is the courts that ultimately determine whether a statement bears the particular meaning relied on by the minister in issuing a correction direction," it added. 

SDP said in an email around midnight on Friday that it "had offered to insert a sentence to our article" to "resolve the matter", but did not back down on an earlier stand that it had not misrepresented the AGC. 

It added to the article the sentence "Mr Kumar also said that this interpretation can be accepted or rejected by the judge hearing the matter", to clarify its stand.

ABOUT THE CASE

SDP had been issued three correction directions under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) over three online posts it made referring to a purported rising trend of local PMET retrenchments. 

The party had applied to cancel the directions, but the Minister of Manpower rejected the application, citing insufficient grounds. SDP later filed a High Court appeal. 

READ: SDP fails in bid to have POFMA-linked case against Manpower Minister heard in open court

The case has been heard in chambers, and are not open to the public, but both parties have made public statements about their arguments.

While proceedings were ongoing, SDP published the article, as well as another one, on its website. 

The AGC said that they misrepresented its case and asked for another hearing, which took place on Thursday.

Source: CNA/ad/hm

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