Case against Pofma corrections should be heard in open court: SDP

The Manpower Ministry ordered correction directions under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act over two of the Singapore Democratic Party's  Facebook posts and an article on its website that the ministry said contained falsehood
The Manpower Ministry ordered correction directions under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act over two of the Singapore Democratic Party's Facebook posts and an article on its website that the ministry said contained falsehoods.PHOTO: GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), which has had three correction directions issued against it under the fake news law, will request to have its case challenging the corrections heard in an open court.

The case, in which the Attorney-General is named as the respondent, is scheduled to be heard in chambers on Thursday morning (Jan 16) and is not open to the public or the media.

The party said in a Facebook post on Monday that it will make the application to the judge when the session is convened.

It added that the case should be open to the public as the matter "has drawn widespread and intense public interest".

The Manpower Ministry ordered the correction directions last month under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) over two of the SDP's Facebook posts and an article on its website that the ministry said contained falsehoods.

Both posts linked to the article, titled "SDP Population Policy: Hire S'poreans First, Retrench S'poreans Last", which claimed that a rising proportion of Singaporean professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) are getting retrenched.

The posts were also accompanied by infographics that depicted the employment of local PMETs as having fallen and that the unemployment of this same group has risen.

On Jan 3, the SDP applied to the ministry to have the corrections cancelled, but Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, who had initiated the corrections, rejected the application on Jan 6.

The SDP then filed its court challenge on Jan 8.

 
 

In its Facebook post on Monday, the SDP said: "Not only has the matter of Pofma been strongly criticised by the opposition, civil society and the general public as an unfair weapon of the ruling party, the issue of foreign PMETs flooding Singapore is also a controversial policy that has gripped the attention of Singaporeans.

"Given that these two issues will be hotly debated and decided by Singaporeans in the looming GE, the SDP will appeal to the judge to make the hearing open to the public."