SINGAPORE — Alternative news websites Singapore Eye, Gutzy Asia and The Online Citizen Asia were issued correction directions for publishing false claims about a case of a woman who fell to her death from a public housing block in Yishun last week.
In a statement on Monday (Oct 16), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that it has instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office to issue the correction directions over articles and social media posts made on Oct 12 and 13.
These had falsely stated that a woman who had fallen off a building in Yishun and died on Oct 12 was a Filipino migrant domestic worker or a Filipino worker.
The police had then received a call for assistance at Block 874 Yishun Street 81.
A woman was taken unconscious to the hospital and later died.
STATEMENTS ‘FALSE’ AND ‘MISLEADING’
MOM said that the statements by the websites claiming that the deceased was a female domestic worker from the Philippines was “false”. She was a Singaporean.
It added that Gutzy Asia’s article and Facebook posts had linked the death to “urgent concerns about the well-being of domestic workers in Singapore amidst recent similar incidents”, and these statements sparked calls for “greater oversight and reforms to ensure their safety and well-being”.
In response, MOM said that these statements were “misleading” because they suggest that there has been oversight by the Government over migrant domestic workers’ well-being.
“MOM has put in place a suite of measures to support the mental well-being of our migrant domestic workers.
“Since April 2021, MOM officers have started house visits to engage some migrant domestic workers and their employers directly,” the ministry said.
It also said that its officers are trained to look out for indicators of stress and discuss with the employers any issues raised by the workers to MOM, so that they can be adequately addressed.
The ministry, together with the Centre for Domestic Employees under the National Trades Union Congress, has launched three CDEConnect centres, which provide convenience for migrant domestic workers and their employers to walk in and seek advice on employment issues.
MOM said that it also requires first-time employers to attend an orientation programme, which educates them on their responsibilities of care towards their domestic workers.
A mental well-being guide for employers was also published on its website.
“MOM also regularly disseminates electronic mailers to advise and reiterate the key content in the mental well-being guide to employers,” it added.
Gutzy Asia, The Online Citizen Asia and Singapore Eye will be required to carry a correction notice against each of its original post, with a link to MOM’s clarification.
“We advise members of the public not to speculate or spread unverified rumours, or both. The Government takes a serious view of the deliberate communication of malicious falsehoods,” the ministry said.