Home Affairs Minister Shanmugam rejects TOC's application to cancel Pofma correction order

In a statement released on Jan 24, 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs said Minister K. Shanmugam has decided to reject the application. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam has rejected an application by website The Online Citizen (TOC) to cancel a correction direction issued against it under the fake news law.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) noted on Friday (Jan 24) that TOC had published an article on Jan 16 that contained falsehoods.

The article asserted, among other things, that Singapore's prison officers were instructed to kick the back of a prisoner's neck with great force to break it, if the rope broke during a hanging.

Malaysian rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) had first alleged on its website that Singapore's prisons used unlawful methods for executions, which MHA refuted on Wednesday.

The group's claims were "untrue, baseless and preposterous", the ministry had said.

MHA issued correction directions under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) to LFL, as well as three others who shared LFL's statement on Facebook.

The trio are TOC, Singaporean freelance journalist Kirsten Han and Yahoo Singapore.

In refuting LFL's allegations on Jan 22, MHA said, among other things, that all judicial executions are carried out in strict compliance with the law.

It also said that "the rope used for judicial executions has never broken before".

It added: "Prison officers certainly do not receive any 'special training to carry out the brutal execution method' as alleged. Any acts such as those described in the LFL statement would have been thoroughly investigated and dealt with."

On Friday, MHA said in its statement: "The conditions for the issuance of the correction direction had been satisfied, and the application did not disclose any grounds to the contrary. After having carefully considered the application, the Minister for Home Affairs has decided to reject it. TOC has been notified of the rejection."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.