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POFMA correction direction issued to The Independent Singapore over article saying Shanmugam may step down

POFMA correction direction issued to The Independent Singapore over article saying Shanmugam may step down

Screenshot of an interview by Vanakkam Malaysia with Singapore Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam (right). (Photo: Facebook/K Shanmugam)

SINGAPORE: A correction direction has been issued against the alternative news website The Independent Singapore over an article that said law minister K Shanmugam may be stepping down from his ministerial positions.

The direction was issued on Friday (Apr 22) under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).

The article, published by The Independent Singapore and written by Mr Toh Han Shih, carried the headline “K Shanmugam says he may step down as Singapore’s Minister of Law and Home Affairs”, the law ministry said on Friday (Apr 22).

It was published on The Independent Singapore website on Thursday, as well as its Facebook and Twitter accounts. Mr Toh also shared the article on his Twitter account.

“The headline was clickbait, giving the false impression that the Minister for Law and Home Affairs said he may be stepping down from his ministerial positions,” the ministry said.

“Additionally, the first paragraph of the article stated that the Minister ‘revealed’ in an interview with Vanakkam Malaysia that he may step down as Singapore’s Minister for Law and Home Affairs, but gave no specific time as to when he might do so.

“Again, this gave the false impression that the Minister said he may be stepping down from his ministerial positions.”

Mr Shanmugam has instructed for correction directions to be issued to both The Independent Singapore and Mr Toh.

They will be required to carry correction notices on their online platforms that published the article, stating that it contains a false statement of fact.

A correction notice was put up by Mr Toh on Twitter at 1.04pm on Friday.

The Independent Singapore also posted correction notices on its website and Facebook page.

The author of the article Toh Han Shih posts a POFMA correction direction on his tweet on Apr 22, 2022. (Photo: Twitter/@tohhanshih)
Correction notice carried on The Independent Singapore website.

In its press release, the Law Ministry clarified that Mr Shanmugam said in the interview that he “must be ready to leave when he no longer has the people’s support” and “should be ready to move on when there are capable leaders to replace him”,

He also said that he “has maintained transparency in both his words and actions and will continue to do that, and if he can no longer continue to do so, he will leave his ministerial posts”.

“It is quite false to state, from the interview, that the Minister said that he may be stepping down from his positions,” the ministry said.

“In addition, viewing the whole video will show that the Minister, when he spoke about his own views, also intended his comments to be of general application, for persons holding Ministerial appointments (when seen in the context of past comments of the PAP leadership, and history of the PAP)."

This story has been updated to include correction notices on The Independent Singapore website and Facebook page.

Source: CNA/ga(ac)
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