MHA rejects activist's bid to cancel or vary Pofma directive

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has rejected an application by activist Jolovan Wham to vary or cancel a correction direction issued to him on Oct 8 over a Twitter post.

MHA said yesterday: "The conditions for issuing the correction direction are 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. Mr Jolovan Wham has been notified of the rejection."

MHA had asked the Pofma Office, which administers the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act, to issue a correction direction to Mr Wham for his Twitter post published on Oct 6.

This was because Mr Wham's tweet had communicated the falsehood that Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam "adopts the view that the rule of law does not operate anywhere in the real world, including in Singapore", MHA said.

Mr Wham was required to publish a correction notice on his online platform, but did not do so at the time.

On Oct 9, MHA said in a new statement that Mr Shanmugam, who is also Law Minister, had instructed the Pofma Office to issue a targeted correction direction to Twitter after Mr Wham's non-compliance with the correction order issued to him.

The targeted correction direction requires Twitter to alert users who have seen Mr Wham's tweet and inform them that it contains false claims about Mr Shanmugam's views on the rule of law.

Shortly after the MHA statement, Mr Wham posted a correction notice on his Twitter account, saying his earlier tweet had contained false statements.

In a subsequent tweet on Oct 10, Mr Wham said he did not agree with the correction and planned to make an application to cancel or vary it.

MHA said on Oct 8 that it had issued letters to Mr Wham and eight other entities, asking them to correct false statements and apologise for misquoting Mr Shanmugam.

Apart from Mr Wham, all of them, corrected or apologised for their posts on that same day.

MHA said the posts had completely misstated what Mr Shanmugam had said during a parliamentary debate. The minister had said some countries stand in contrast to how the rule of law is applied in Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2021, with the headline 'MHA rejects activist's bid to cancel or vary Pofma directive'. Subscribe