MHA rejects TOC's application to cancel Pofma order over police bullying claims

The video posted on May 18 contained falsehoods alleging that police officers "had taunted and reprimanded an elderly woman for not wearing a mask", said the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The video posted on May 18 contained falsehoods alleging that police officers "had taunted and reprimanded an elderly woman for not wearing a mask", said the Ministry of Home Affairs.SCREENGRABS: DE LONG/FACEBOOK, GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - An application by The Online Citizen Asia (TOC) to cancel a correction direction issued to it over a video that it posted on its online platforms has been rejected by Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.

The video posted on May 18 contained falsehoods alleging that police officers "had taunted and reprimanded an elderly woman for not wearing a mask", said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday (May 28).

The video was originally shared by Instagram user @nichology.

On May 19, the police issued a clarification on the incident.

Body-worn camera footage was later released to show a police officer buying the elderly woman a packet of food from a nearby stall and not taunting or reprimanding her.

On May 21, Mr Shanmugam instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office to issue a direction to TOC, requiring it to post a correction notice in a new post on its Facebook page.

This was also required of @nichology as well as Singapore Uncensored, which have complied with the correction order.

TOC was required to state in the new post that an earlier post on its Facebook page had contained a false statement of fact, together with a link to a Factually article that sets out the correct facts, said MHA.

"The conditions for issuing the correction direction are satisfied, and the application did not disclose any grounds to the contrary," said the ministry.

"After having carefully considered the application, the Minister for Home Affairs has decided to reject it," MHA added.

The ministry said TOC has been notified of the rejection.

It urged the public to refer to the Factually article for the "correct facts" about the incident at the gov.sg website.

Correction note: An earlier version of this story stated that Singapore Uncensored did not post a clarification in compliance with the Pofma order. This is incorrect. We are sorry for the error.