POFMA correction direction issued to Singapore Incidents over viral video of South Asian travellers at Changi Airport

POFMA correction direction issued to Singapore Incidents over viral video of South Asian travellers at Changi Airport

CAAS Singapore Incidents
A screengrab from a video circulating on social media which shows South Asian travellers arriving at Changi Airport. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said the video was filmed before Apr 5, 2021.

SINGAPORE: A correction direction has been issued to Singapore Incidents over a video that purportedly shows South Asian travellers at Changi Airport on May 5, despite current travel restrictions.

The information in the video is false, said the Ministry of Transport (MOT) on Friday (May 7). The video was posted on Singapore Incidents' Facebook and Instagram pages.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung has instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office to issue the correction direction to Singapore Incidents. The correction direction requires Singapore Incidents to carry a correction notice on both its Facebook and Instagram pages stating that the posts contain falsehoods.

The video was viewed more than 38,000 times on Facebook before it was taken down. 

THE VIDEO

At about 9.42pm on May 5, Singapore Incidents published a video on its Facebook page showing a large group of travellers from South Asia arriving at Changi Airport Terminal 1. 

Voices are heard in the video discussing whether the passengers were in Singapore for work or holidays, and remarking that there were "so many" of them. 

The video contained a watermark that stated the date of the video as May 5, 2021 and the location as Changi Airport. The same video was published two minutes later on the Instagram page.

“First, the video showed passengers arriving at Changi Airport Terminal 1, and a clock indicating the time as 2.53pm. There were no flights from South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) that arrived at any terminal in Changi Airport between 8am and 3.30pm on May 5, 2021," said the Transport Ministry.

“Second, in the video, passengers were seen walking past a renovation hoarding at gate hold rooms D42/43 in Terminal 1. This hoarding was removed on Apr 5, establishing that the video was taken before Apr 5."

READ: Viral video of South Asian travellers at Changi Airport at least a month old: CAAS

Since 11.59pm on Apr 23, all long-term visit pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to India were not allowed entry into or transit through Singapore.

This border control measure was extended on 11.59pm on May 1 to all long-term visit pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

READ: Singapore to bar visitors from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka

“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,” MOT said.

For example, there were five passenger flights arriving in Singapore from South Asia on May 5, carrying a total of 50 passengers. All passengers were Singaporeans or permanent residents, said the ministry.

POFMA MOT
Breakdown of passenger flights arriving from South Asia on May 5. (Table: Ministry of Transport)

MOT added that all passengers arriving on these flights are currently subject to stringent border control and health measures. They are also escorted through the airport, separate from other passengers arriving from other countries.

READ: India records 1.57 million new COVID-19 cases in a week

While Singapore has reported imported cases from South Asia in recent days, these arrivals had already arrived in Singapore before the restrictions on travel were imposed, said the Ministry of Health in its daily update on Thursday. 

On Thursday, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said on its Facebook page that “the post is misleading. This video was not taken on May 5, 2021." 

In response to queries from CNA, CAAS said on Friday it is considering whether to take further action against those who posted or circulated the video.

Singapore Incidents has since posted a correction notice on its Facebook page.

“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,” MOT said.

Source: CNA/vc(mi)

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