IMDA to block Malaysian NGO website after it fails to comply with Pofma correction: MCI

Lawyers for Liberty had claimed that Singapore 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, and that the Singapore Government approved of such "unlawful method
Lawyers for Liberty had claimed that Singapore 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, and that the Singapore Government approved of such "unlawful methods".PHOTO: GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will get Internet service providers here to block the website of a Malaysian rights group that alleged that Singapore's prisons had used unlawful methods for executions.

The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) on Thursday (Jan 23) said its minister directed IMDA to do so after the Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) group did not comply with a correction direction issued under the fake news law against a Jan 22 statement on its website.

"The correction direction issued to LFL had required the facts to be juxtaposed against the falsehoods, so that end-users in Singapore can read both versions and draw their own conclusions," MCI said.

LFL had claimed that Singapore 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, and that the Singapore Government approved of such "unlawful methods".

Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) refuted the claims on Wednesday, calling them "untrue, baseless and preposterous".

It added that the rope used for executions has never broken before and that prison officers do not receive any training to carry out the alleged brutal execution method.

Responding on Wednesday, LFL said it would not comply with the "unlawful and oppressive" correction notice, and asked the Singapore Government to withdraw it.

It also said it stood by its statement and claimed they were based on evidence from former and current Singapore prison officers with "impeccable" service records.

In its statement on Thursday, MCI said the access blocking orders will ensure that the falsehoods on LFL's website are no longer communicated in Singapore without the facts placed alongside them. It added that the orders would be lifted if the group complied with the correction direction.

Apart from LFL, the MHA also issued correction directions to three other parties: Singaporean freelance journalist Kirsten Han, who had shared LFL's statement on Facebook, The Online Citizen (TOC), which had an article that contained the falsehoods, and Yahoo Singapore, which shared an article that had the falsehoods.

 
 
 

Ms Han said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that she had sent questions to the Singapore Prison Service about LFL's claims, but did not receive a response. She appended the correction notice to her post that same day.

Yahoo appended the correction notice to its Facebook post on Thursday, while TOC said it had filed an application to the Minister for Home Affairs to cancel the correction direction it received.

Separately, Ms Han and lawyer M. Ravi both posted on Facebook on Thursday that LFL would be taking legal action against Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam on Friday in Kuala Lumpur.