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POFMA directive issued to Jolovan Wham for Twitter post about Shanmugam's remarks on rule of law

POFMA directive issued to Jolovan Wham for Twitter post about Shanmugam's remarks on rule of law
Activist and social worker Jolovan Wham in 2017. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: A correction direction under the POFMA (Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act) has been issued to activist and social worker Jolovan Wham over a social media post he made about Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam's remarks on the rule of law.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday (Oct 8) said it was aware of "falsehoods" circulated online by Mr Wham, which "misrepresented" what Mr Shanmugam had said in Parliament on Oct 4.

The minister has instructed the POFMA Office to issue a correction direction to Mr Wham for the post dated Oct 6 as it "communicates the falsehood that the Minister for Home Affairs adopts the view that the rule of law does not operate anywhere in the real world, including in Singapore", said MHA.

Mr Wham will be required to publish a correction notice on his online platform, said the ministry.

"The minister had repeatedly affirmed, in Parliament, the importance of the rule of law for Singapore and the Government's strong and continued commitment to the rule of law," said MHA.

It added: "He had said there are some countries around the world where the rule of law is a concept for lawyers, but does not operate in the real world, and their societies live in utter misery.

"He used this as a contrast to how the rule of law is applied in Singapore."

On Oct 7, MHA issued letters to nine entities, including Mr Wham, who had published "false posts" on Facebook that "misrepresented" what Mr Shanmugam said in Parliament, said the ministry.

Except for Mr Wham, the other entities have since apologised for what they did, corrected their posts or done both, said MHA.

Mr Shanmugan's comments on the rule of law in Singapore were made near the end of a debate on the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act (FICA) on Oct 4.

After the debate, Mothership published an article misrepresenting Mr Shanmugam as not being committed to the rule of law in Singapore, with the nine entities either sharing that article or making similar misrepresentations.

On Sunday, Mr Wham posted a correction notice on his Twitter account which said his original tweet contained false statements on Mr Shanmugam's comments. 

"However, I do not agree with this correction and will be making an application to cancel/vary this notice," he said in a tweet replying to the correction notice. 

Source: CNA/dv(gr)

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