The website The Online Citizen published an article and Facebook post on 5 Oct 2019 titled “Has anyone thought about this one way top down enforcement of so called ‘fake news’?”. The article makes false allegations that Ministers can exercise POFMA powers during the election period in order to influence election outcomes, and use POFMA to silence critics.
Below is MCI and MinLaw’s reply to The Online Citizen:
Dear The Online Citizen,
You have published a post by your editor, Mr Terry Xu, and another article by Ghui, on POFMA and GE. Both were published by you on 5 October 2019.
The post and article contain falsehoods.
For example, they incorrectly assert that Ministers can use POFMA during the elections to restrict and curtail online content.
The Act states that for the entire election period Ministers cease to exercise their powers under POFMA. Instead, senior civil servants are appointed as the Ministersʼ alternate authorities for the election period.
The robust safeguards on the use of POFMA will continue to be in place during the elections.
It is disingenuous to talk about the need for voters to know “what actually happened”, while suggesting that falsehoods should be allowed to go unaddressed during an election period.
Update: 7 Oct 2019
Terry Xu/The Online Citizen made a statement falsely alleging that there was a “Hep C cover up prior to the GE2015”.
Below is MOH’s clarification:
Terry Xu’s/The Online Citizen’s statement that there was a “Hep C cover up prior to the GE2015” is false. An Independent Review Committee conducted an objective and critical review of the incident and found no evidence of deliberate delays by SGH or MOH in escalating the Hepatitis C outbreak, let alone a cover up. Public healthcare professionals and MOH officers carry out their duties professionally with patients’ best interests in mind. The timeline of key events was disclosed by MOH. Questions on the incident were raised in Parliament, to which the Minister for Health provided full responses.