The Middle Ground website gets stern police warning for Bukit Batok by-election violation

A man voting at Block 105A, Bukit Batok Central, during the Bukit Batok by-election on May 7.
A man voting at Block 105A, Bukit Batok Central, during the Bukit Batok by-election on May 7.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - News website The Middle Ground has been given a stern warning by police for publishing the results of an opinion survey during the Bukit Batok by-election.

The site's consulting editor Bertha Henson said the warning was given "in lieu of prosecution", in a post on the website on Tuesday (Aug 2) night.

Ms Henson and the website's publisher Daniel Yap were informed of the police decision in a meeting with an investigation officer at Clementi Police Division on Tuesday afternoon.

They were each given a warning letter which said that "if you commit any offence in future, the same leniency may not be shown towards you".

On May 6, The Middle Ground published an article titled "BB BE: 50 voters in Bukit Batok", which featured interviews with Bukit Batok voters.

Under the Parliamentary Elections Act, it is an offence to publish the results of any election survey during the election period. The Bukit Batok by-election campaign period was from April 27 to May 5, with Cooling-Off Day on May 6, a day before Polling Day.

The Elections Department said that The Middle Ground had asked Bukit Batok voters in the previous week how they would vote, which constituted an election survey.

The Middle Ground later took down the article after being asked to by the Media Development Authority. MDA made a police report on May 6.

Ms Henson said of her experience with the police: "It was all very polite. They were polite to us, we were polite to them, it was very amicable."