The Singapore Herald, formerly known as the States Times Review, has been flagged for fake news by the local authorities once again, after the publication made false allegations that the recent POLARIS-PIREAS collision arose after one vessel accepted bribes and engineered the crash.
Citing anonymous and unverified “sources in the shipping industry,” Singapore Herald made false allegations that the Singapore Government was behind the crash and that it had bribed the Greek vessel PIREAS to collide into the stationery Malaysian vessel POLARIS.
Setting the record straight, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) came out strongly against the allegations yesterday. MPA said:
“There have been false online allegations about the collision between PIREAS and POLARIS on 9 Feb 2019. Here are the facts:
1428hrs: PIREAS collided with POLARIS on its way from Singapore to Tanjung Pelepas. The incident was witnessed by PCG patrolling in the vicinity. PIREAS also reported its collision with POLARIS to MPA’s Port Operations Control Centre, and indicated that it had not sustained any damage.
1902hrs: After the facts had been established, MPA released a media statement, along with a photo of the incident.
1903hrs: The Straits Times posted the statement and carried the picture on its online site. It then followed up with a Facebook post at 1907hrs.
2000hrs: Videos of the collision were provided to the media.
“As you can see, there is neither a ‘chief culprit’ nor an ‘arranged’ incident. MPA is investigating, and strongly urges the public to avoid spreading deliberate online falsehoods.”
This is not the first time articles by the Singapore Herald and States Times Review (STR) has been deemed as fake news by the authorities. STR was shut down and reborn as the Singapore Herald after it was geo-blocked here over fake allegations linking Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to the 1MDB scandal.
Published on 5 November 2018, the article entitled “Lee Hsien Loong becomes 1MDB’s key investigation target” made statements that were false and malicious, and impugned the integrity of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as a financial regulator.
The article further alleged that Malaysia had signed several unfair agreements with Singapore, in exchange for Singapore banks’ assistance in laundering 1MDB’s funds. The defamatory article has been deemed “baseless” by Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, who has said that the authorities will take action against all parties involved.
MAS, Singapore’s central bank, filed a police report over the defamatory article. Alex Tan, the editor of the website later revealed on Facebook that the IMDA also sent him a notice to remove the defamatory article from his website. When Tan did not do so, IMDA geo-blocked the website in Singapore.
After the IMDA blocked his website and a mere two hours after defiantly refusing to take down the disputed article, Tan said that he will cease all website operations.
In a statement on Facebook and on the website, Tan wrote: “Hereon, I will also announce that I have decided to stop writing and continue my life in Australia.
“This Facebook page will shut down in 2 weeks from now but the website will remain until the General Elections is over. Do take note that this shut down notice is of my own volition, and not pressure from anyone or the dictatorship. I have no intention to impugn my integrity bending forward for a scum government.”
He later said that STR’s mission will continue under the new Singapore herald name.
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