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

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

Jolovan Wham arrives at the State Court in Singapore on Feb 21, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: The Minister for Home Affairs has instructed the POFMA (Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act) Office to issue a targeted correction direction to Twitter, following Mr Jolovan Wham’s non-compliance with a correction order issued to him on Friday (Oct 8), said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday.

Under the targeted correction direction, Twitter is required to alert users who have seen Mr Wham’s tweet that it contains false claims about Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam's views on the rule of law.

Mr Wham’s tweet on Oct 6 "communicated 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.

The latest directive comes after MHA said on Friday that it was aware of "falsehoods" circulated online by Mr Wham, which "misrepresented" what Mr Shanmugam had said in Parliament on Oct 4.

A correction direction was issued to Mr Wham on Friday, requiring Mr Wham to publish the correction notice on his online platform.

"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 on Friday.

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. The media outlet later published an editor’s note to clarify and correct the misrepresentation.

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/aj(ac)

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