SINGAPORE: A correction direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) has been issued to online publication Asia Sentinel, over statements made on the aftermath of an opinion piece by Andy Wong Min Jun in Nikkei Asia.
Under the POFMA order, California-registered Asia Sentinel is required to carry a correction notice alongside a May 24 article titled Singapore kills a Chicken to Scare the Monkeys, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a press release on Friday (May 26).
The article was written by editor John Berthelsen, who interviewed Wong, the author of a 2021 commentary criticising Singapore’s handling of KTV lounges amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Berthelsen wrote that Wong had been “forced into exile” after, and drew parallels between his situation and that of others like lawyer M Ravi and Lee Hsien Yang, the brother of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
MHA on Friday said that Asia Sentinel’s article contained several falsehoods.
These include claiming that Mr Ravi was suspended from practising law for five years because he had criticised the Singapore government, and that Lee Hsien Yang and his wife Lee Suet Fern were forced to leave Singapore because government action was threatened against them for “warring” with Lee Hsien Loong.
Another false statement was that the Singapore government, in the aftermath of Wong’s piece, had threatened to end Nikkei’s business operations in the country, said MHA.
The ministry reiterated that Wong’s Nikkei article contained “many factual inaccuracies”.
“Nikkei Asia published the Ministry of Home Affairs’ response as a letter to the editor (Singapore says commentary on KTV outbreak is full of inaccuracies) on July 29, 2021. At no point did the Singapore government threaten to end Nikkei’s operations in Singapore,” it said in the press release.