Pofma issues 5 correction directions over reports on Tambyah remarks

Professor Paul Tambyah speaking at the NUSS Pre-General Election Forum 2020 on July 3, 2020.
Professor Paul Tambyah speaking at the NUSS Pre-General Election Forum 2020 on July 3, 2020.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Five correction directions have been issued to the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS), Channel News Asia (CNA), The Online Citizen Asia (TOC) and New Naratif, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a joint statement yesterday.

The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office was directed to issue these correction directions by the alternate authority for the Minister for Manpower.

It is the first time that a mainstream media outlet has been issued a correction direction by the Pofma Office.

The directions were issued for the following:

•A video titled "NUSS Pre-General Election Forum 2020", published by NUSS on July 3 on YouTube.

•A Facebook post and video titled "Dr Paul Tambyah reveals MOM's role in outbreak of Covid-19 within dormitories", published by TOC on July 4.

•A video titled "TOC GE2020 Livestream - Afternoon session 2 July 2020", published by TOC on July 2.

•An online article titled "GE2020: Focus on public health could have been lost in March amid talk of early election, suggests SDP's Paul Tambyah", published by CNA on July 4.

•An audio recording titled "An Interview with Dr Paul Tambyah", published by New Naratif on July 5.

These materials contained statements by Singapore Democratic Party chairman Paul Tambyah which are false, MOH and MOM said in their joint press statement.

The four organisations will be required to each carry a correction notice stating that the online content contains false statement of facts.

At issue were statements by Professor Tambyah tha•t MOM's e-mail advisory to employers on the testing of migrant workers was made without the advice of public health medical professionals and that this •advisory warned that employers would lose their work pass privileges if they brought their workers for Covid-19 testing.

  • MOM was also said to have actively discouraged the testing of workers.

The statements were false, the ministries' joint statement said.

Details of the corrections and clarifications regarding the statements can be found here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2020, with the headline '5 correction directions issued over reports on Tambyah remarks'. Print Edition | Subscribe