Home singapore Singapore unblocks access to East Asia Forum after removal of article written by NUS academic

Singapore unblocks access to East Asia Forum after removal of article written by NUS academic

Singapore unblocks access to East Asia Forum after removal of article written by NUS academic
Published September 22, 2023 Updated September 22, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

SINGAPORE — Access to Australia-based academic website East Asia Forum has been unblocked after it was initially issued a correction direction on Sept 13 by the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office.

Internet service providers in Singapore were ordered to block access to the website on Sept 16, after it failed to comply with the order, which required it to publish a correction notice at the top of the article and the website’s main page. 

It had posted a link instead to a government statement at the end of the article’s comment section, at the bottom of the website.

In a press release on Friday (Sept 22), the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said the website had applied for the correction direction to be cancelled two days earlier.

The correction order was issued to the platform over an article titled “A spate of scandals strikes Singapore”, which was written by Dr Ying-Kit Chan from the National University of Singapore (NUS). 

The article, published on Aug 18, contained false statements on matters such as the independence of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s approach in addressing extramarital affairs among parliamentarians, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.

“East Asia Forum explained that the article… has been removed from all publication sites associated with EAF at the request of the author,” said MCI, adding that Dr Chan also issued a public apology on the matter.

Dr Chan told TODAY on Sept 18 that he “sincerely and unreservedly apologise” for the errors, omissions and false statements made in his article, which was written on his own volition without NUS’ knowledge, and had retracted it from the website.

“After careful consideration of East Asia Forum’s explanations and all the circumstances of the present case, the Minister in the PMO, Ms Indranee Rajah, has instructed the Pofma Office to cancel the Correction Direction and the Targeted Correction Direction issued to Meta Platforms,” said MCI.

In an email sent to NUS staff on Wednesday, the university reminded its members not to break the law when expressing their views, and of its position as a leading global university that is trusted by the public. 

“This trust is eroded when any of our faculty, staff or students engage in disinformation or misinformation,” wrote NUS president Tan Eng Chye.

When staff members share their opinions in their personal capacity, they should ensure that this is “clearly stated” and note that their views do not represent NUS’ position, Professor Tan said in his email.

They also should not use the NUS affiliation in such instances, he added. CNA

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