Pofma Office to issue targeted correction direction to Twitter over Jolovan Wham's post

Mr Jolovan Wham had previously been instructed to publish a correction notice on his online platform.
Mr Jolovan Wham had previously been instructed to publish a correction notice on his online platform.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam has instructed the Pofma Office to issue a targeted correction direction to Twitter, said his ministry on Saturday (Oct 9).

This comes after activist Jolovan Wham's non-compliance with the correction order issued to him on Friday.

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

He had made comments on social media network Twitter that misrepresented what Mr Shanmugam had said on the rule of law in Parliament on Monday.

Mr Wham wrote: "'Rule of law is a concept for lawyers, but it doesn't operate in the real world,' K. Shanmugam, Law Minister."

The Pofma Office administers the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma).

The ministry clarified that "the tweet communicates the falsehood that the Minister for Home Affairs adopts the view that the rule of law does not operate anywhere in the real world, including in Singapore".

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

Mr Wham had previously been instructed to publish a correction notice on his online platform.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Thursday that it issued letters to nine entities, asking them to correct false statements and apologise for misquoting Mr Shanmugam.

Besides Mr Wham, they are activists Andrew Loh, Kirsten Han, Martyn See, Julie O'Connor, Kokila Annamalai and Lynn Lee, Peoples Voice chief Lim Tean and Facebook page Wake Up Singapore.

These misrepresentations were also published by news website Mothership in an article on Wednesday.

As at Friday, all of them besides Mr Wham had corrected and/or apologised for their posts. Mothership published an editor's note to clarify and correct the misrepresentation.

MHA said on Friday that the posts in question had completely misstated what Mr Shanmugam had said at the debate on the Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act, or Fica.

"The minister had repeatedly affirmed, in Parliament, the importance of the rule of law for Singapore and the Government's strong and continued commitment to the rule of law.

"He had said there are some countries around the world where the rule of law is a concept for lawyers, but does not operate in the real world, and their societies live in utter misery. He used this as a contrast to how the rule of law is applied in Singapore," the ministry added.

Mr Shanmugam was responding to remarks by MPs on the role of the judiciary in overseeing Fica at a 10-hour-long debate on Monday.

He noted that while executive powers must be subject to checks and balances, the questions are in what form and what solutions are appropriate and best for Singapore's context.

Parliament approved Fica on Monday, three years after it was first raised.

During the debate, MPs brought up criticisms and concerns from lawyers, experts and activists, including over the law's broad language and lack of judicial oversight.

All 11 opposition MPs present voted against it, while two Nominated MPs abstained.