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Rejected: States Times Review’s application to cancel fake news Correction Direction

Ministry says application provided no evidence to disprove the grounds on which order was issued

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Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has rejected the application by States Times Review (STR) founder Alex Tan to cancel a Correction Direction issued to him in November last year.

In a press statement on Friday (Jan 3), the Ministry of Home Affairs said the application, which was sent on Wednesday (Jan 1), simply restated false statements and provided no evidence to disprove the grounds on which the Correction Direction was issued.

On Nov 23 last year, the STR Facebook page carried a post which falsely asserted that the whistleblower who exposed a PAP candidate’s Christian affiliations had been arrested and faced police charges for “fabricating fake news” and that the NUS Students United page had been taken down and the owner of the page was under police investigation after Mr Shanmugam ordered the arrest.

In its statement, the ministry noted that a Correction Direction was issued to Alex Tan on Nov 28 last year, requiring him to insert a correction notice stating that the Facebook post contained false statements of fact.

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“To-date, Alex Tan has not complied with the Correction Direction. Following Alex Tan’s non-compliance, the Minister for Home Affairs instructed the POFMA office to issue a Targeted Correction Direction to Facebook on 29 November 2019,” it added.

It also wrote that “after having carefully considered the application, the Minister for Home Affairs has decided to reject it. Alex Tan has been notified of the rejection”. /TISG

MHA’s full statement:
REJECTION OF APPLICATION BY “STATES TIMES REVIEW” TO CANCEL CORRECTION DIRECTION UNDER
THE PROTECTION FROM ONLINE FALSEHOODS AND MANIPULATION ACT
1. The Minister for Home Affairs has rejected an application (the “Application”) by the “States Times Review” (“STR”) to cancel the Correction Direction issued to Mr Alex Tan Zhi Xiang (Alex Tan) on 28 November 2019, pursuant to section 11 of the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA).
2. On 23 November 2019, the STR Facebook page carried a post, which falsely asserted that:
(a) “[t]he whistleblower who exposed the PAP candidate’s Christian affiliations has since been arrested, and fac[es] police charges for “fabricating fake news””; and
(b) “[t]he [NUSSU – NUS Students United (“NSU”)] page has since been taken down and the owner of the page is now under police investigation after Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam ordered the arrest.”
3. These false statements of fact were refuted in MHA’s statement dated 28 November 2019*. A Correction Direction was issued to Alex Tan on 28 November 2019, requiring him to insert a correction notice stating that the Facebook post contained false statements of fact. To-date, Alex Tan has not complied with the Correction Direction. Following Alex Tan’s non-compliance, the Minister for Home Affairs instructed the POFMA office to issue a Targeted Correction Direction to Facebook on 29 November 2019.
4. STR’s Application, sent on 1 Jan 2020, simply restated the false statements and provided no evidence to disprove the grounds on which the Correction Direction was issued.
5. After having carefully considered the Application, the Minister for Home Affairs has decided to reject it. Alex Tan has been notified of the rejection.
*https://www.mha.gov.sg/…/mha-statement-on-the-issuance-of-c…
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
3 JANUARY 2020

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