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No grounds for setting aside POFMA correction direction issued against The Online Citizen for carrying Lawyers for Liberty statement: MHA

No grounds for setting aside POFMA correction direction issued against The Online Citizen for carrying Lawyers for Liberty statement: MHA

The Online Citizen logo. (Photo: Facebook/The Online Citizen)

SINGAPORE: The Court of Appeal has dismissed an application by The Online Citizen (TOC) to set aside the correction direction issued against it on Jan 22, 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement on Friday (Oct 8). 

MHA said the court held that there were no grounds for setting aside a POFMA correction direction issued last year against the alternative news website when it carried a statement issued by a Malaysian group Lawyers for Liberty. 

Lawyers for Liberty had made "scurrilous, false" allegations against the Singapore Prison Service (SPS), including that SPS used "brutal and unlawful" execution methods, said the ministry. 

"The Court of Appeal noted that TOC did not attempt to prove any of the serious allegations," it said. 

The Court said that the group's allegations were "categorically refuted" by evidence produced by SPS and that its allegations - as reproduced by TOC - were "baseless". 

"The Court of Appeal held that there were no grounds for setting aside the correction direction. TOC had put out a clearly false statement of fact," said MHA. 

It also dismissed all arguments that POFMA is unconstitutional, and held that it was "clear beyond doubt" that the Parliament considered POFMA to be "necessary or expedient" in the interests of national security and public order. 

The Court also said that POFMA contained a proportionality test, as Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam had said in Parliament, both during the POFMA debate and the recent FICA debate. 

Source: CNA/lk(rw)

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