Sunday, May 26, 2019

Serious flaws in POFMA law

Do you agree that the POFMA law has the following flaws?

a) The Act allows the government to exempt certain people from the law. The government has already taken the decision to exempt ministers. Our law should apply to everybody and nobody, including the ministers, should be exempted.

b) Under the Act, any appeal against the decision of the minister has to be made to the minister in the first place, before it can be sent to the court. There is no time limit required by the minister to reply. The minister can sit on the matter forever, and prevent the appeal from going to court.

c) In other countries, a similar law is passed to address specific problems, such as terrorism and hate news against a racial or religious group. In Singapore, this law is targeted against "falsehoods". We fear that it can be used to restrict criticism of government policies and actions and create obstacles against people who hold different political views.

d) Under this law, any ministers (and there are 20 ministers in Singapore) can make a determination that a news is false and require the news item to be corrected or taken down. We suggest that this determination should be made by the court, rather than a minister. This will ensure that there is consistency in making the determination.

1 comment:

fairplay said...

As posted, item a) and b) are really serious flaws, a rogue govt in future can misuse this flaw to disadvantage citizens. I wonder whether the Law Ministry is aware of this problem. Thank you for pointing out this, you are a great service to Singaporeans.

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