Website gets stern warning from police

Website The Middle Ground was given a stern warning for flouting the Parliamentary Elections Act on May 5 during the Bukit Batok by-election.
Website The Middle Ground was given a stern warning for flouting the Parliamentary Elections Act on May 5 during the Bukit Batok by-election. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

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

The site's consulting editor Bertha Henson said on its website on Tuesday that the warning was given in lieu of prosecution.

The issuing of the warning closes the police investigation of The Middle Ground's article BB BE: 50 Voters In Bukit Batok.

It was published on May 5, the final day of the nine-day election campaign period that began on April 27.

Under the Parliamentary Elections Act, it is an offence to publish the results of any election survey during the election period.

The article featured interviews with Bukit Batok voters and their replies to questions on how they would vote.

The Middle Ground removed the article on May 6 after being told to by the Media Development Authority.

The regulator made a police report on the same day.

The nine people involved in the report - Ms Henson, the website's publisher Daniel Yap, as well as reporters and interns - were interviewed by the police briefly on two separate days.

Ms Henson and Mr Yap were informed of the police decision by a chief investigating officer at Clementi Police Division on Tuesday afternoon.

The duo were each given a warning letter stating they might not be shown the same leniency if they committed an offence in the future.

The company also received a warning letter, which Mr Yap signed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2016, with the headline 'Website gets stern warning from police'. Print Edition | Subscribe