Pofma office orders The Temasek Review to correct FB post alleging police fined delivery rider for cloth mask

SINGAPORE – An online post that alleged the police had fined a delivery rider for wearing a cloth mask is false.

Officers were instead assisting the rider, said the Government as it invoked the fake news law against website The Temasek Review.

Minister of Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam has instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) office on Friday (April 17) to issue a correction direction to the website’s Facebook page.

The Temasek Review made the false statement on their Facebook page on Wednesday.

The post included a picture of a Grabfood rider with a cloth wrapped around his nose and mouth. A police officer can be seen standing next to the rider in the picture, writing in a notebook.

In the post, The Temasek Review said the Grabfood delivery rider was issued a fine of $300 by Singapore Police Force officers for “allegedly wearing a cloth as a mask, or illegal parking”.

However, the Government has clarified that the police officer in the photo was taking a statement from the delivery rider, who believed that items were stolen from his motorcycle.

No summons was issued to the delivery rider, and the event had nothing to do with the circuit breaker measures or illegal parking, said the Government on its fact-checking website Factually.

“Such allegations are highly irresponsible and hurt public confidence and trust in the Police. It also undermines our officers, who are at the frontlines trying to keep Singaporeans safe and secure during this challenging period,” they added.

The Pofma directive would require The Temasek Review to display a correction notice and provide access to the accurate information. It is not compulsory for The Temasek Review to take down the post or make edits to its content, and the directive does not impose criminal sanctions.

With the spread of coronavirus-related falsehoods, the fake news law has been invoked several times in the past few months to right untruths.

On April 1, the Pofma office issued a correction direction to a Facebook user who had falsely claimed that a third of the help set out in the Resilience Budget would go towards Singapore Airlines, and that $17 billion drawn from Singapore’s reserves would be dedicated to Temasek.

Last month, opposition politician and lawyer Lim Tean and two other Facebook users were issued correction directions for falsely alleging that the People’s Association (PA) and residents’ committees were involved in organising an event that resulted in Singapore’s then largest coronavirus cluster.

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