Earlier today (May 13), Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam issued Correction Directions under the Protection From Online Falsehoods And Manipulation Act (Pofma) to online publication New Naratif and historian Thum Ping Tjin, who is also known as PJ Thum.
The orders, which referred to a YouTube video episode of The Show by PJ Thum on the New Naratif YouTube channel on May 8, were announced in a press release by the Ministry of Law.
In his video, Mr Thum claimed that under (Pofma), the definition of “false” means that “even if one bit is found to be wrong or misleading, the whole statement can be considered false. The definition is so broad that the omission of a fact, accidentally or otherwise, is sufficient for something to be considered misleading. The problem is, it’s impossible to include every single fact about anything in the statement. You can’t! And even if you could, anyone could selectively quote it, so that what they quote is misleading. So under this law, every statement can be considered false in some way.”
He also claimed that Pofma makes all criticisms of the Government illegal, and that there is no recourse in law for the Court to overturn a Pofma direction if it is an abuse of the powers under Pofma.
Along with explaining why Mr Thum’s claims were false, the statement on gov.sg said: “Contrary to what Mr Thum suggests, people are free to criticise and disagree with the Government.”
It said: “Pofma has been used to deal specifically with falsehoods, which suggested that the Government is mismanaging public funds, abusing police power, favouring foreigners over locals, and carrying out judicial executions in an unlawful, brutal manner, among others.”
The statement adds that, under the Correction Directions issued to Mr Thum and New Naratif, the YouTube video will still remain accessible to the public. “That gives the lie to any suggestion of censorship. It will allow viewers to view his video, and this statement, and reach their own conclusions,” it said.