MCI Response to PQ on Reason for Inclusion of POFMA Correction Direction on Asia Sentinel Website
Parliament Sitting on 3 August 2023
QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
40. Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information with regard to online news site Asia Sentinel, why does the Government require the inclusion of a POFMA correction direction on both the main page of its website and on the page which hosts the article that contains false statements of fact.
Under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA), a Minister is empowered to issue a Correction Direction to a recipient who has communicated a false statement of fact. The Correction Direction will specify the form and manner in which the Correction Notice is to be published. The intent is to try to have the Correction Notice reach at least as large a readership as the original falsehood, though often this may be difficult to achieve.
In the case of Asia Sentinel, the Minister for Home Affairs had instructed the POFMA Office to issue a Correction Direction to Asia Sentinel in respect of one of its articles, and specified that the recipient publish a Correction Notice at (1) the top of the page which hosts the article that contained false statements of fact; and (2) the top of the main page of its website. The inclusion of the POFMA Correction Notice on more than one location on Asia Sentinel’s website is to try and achieve the objective stated above. The Act also allows other orders to be made, to get the Correction Notice brought to the attention of the readers who may have read the original falsehoods.