Freelance journalist, Kirsten Han voice out against the inaccurate and misrepresenting summary by the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods of her oral evidence provided on 27 March.
Ms Han wrote on her Facebook, “It’s come to my attention that the summary of evidence for the session with myself, Terry Xu, Howard Lee and Shih-Tung Ngiam, and Jolovan Wham after us, has been released on the Parliament website. The summary is inaccurate and misrepresents my views.”
She further wrote that she will be working on a formal complaint about her portion of the summary and asks for those who have given evidence checks their summary to see if it is an accurate representation.
If one were to go through the video snippets of Ms Han’s replies, the summary takes a simplistic view on Ms Han’s oral evidence and presents conclusions which are taken out of context.
One example of the summary which misrepresents her views is how it summarises her comments on having a Freedom of Information Act in Singapore:
“While she had not done a comprehensive study of a Freedom of Information Act, she was of the view that transparency should be valued, even if such legislation could compromise national security and waste resources.”
She explains, “Here is what I said about how the Freedom of Information Act does not preclude the government from keeping material confidential on legitimate national security grounds. I also raise the example of the D-Notice Committee (now known as DSMA-Notice) where the government engages with the media on what should or should not be reported on for security reasons.”
She wrote, “I at no point said that we should have an FOIA even if it compromises national security.”
I was later pointed to a report that said that information requests not in the spirit of the law have also been made and asked if this was something that had to be considered.
Ms Han further noted that she had argued that the principle of transparency outweighs the fact that some people might make frivolous requests.
“This follows the same principle as lots of other policy-making; even though there might be some who abuse or exploit the system, you make policy for the greater good because it fills a need, instead of denying everyone just because there might be a less worthy minority. To characterise this as “transparency should be valued, even if such legislation could… waste resources” is not accurate.” wrote Ms Han on her Facebook post.
The summary can be viewed here – https://www.parliament.gov.sg/…/summary-of-evidence—27-ma…
A statement was issued by Ms Han and other panellists in response to the summary and manner in which the hearings were conducted.
Below is a compiled video of the exchanges between Ms Han and Mr Tong.