Select Committee on deliberate online falsehoods had earlier announced on Monday (5 April) that it has amended the summaries of evidence published on the Parliament website after receiving requests from five witnesses.
In its statement, the Committee stated that the summaries were produced as working notes for reference each day. The Committee’s analysis and report will be based on the full verbatim transcripts of the Hearings, as well as the written submissions.
“As all witnessed before the Select Committee were told, they will be able to check the transcripts of their own appearances,” it noted, adding that some of the requested amendments were incorporated into a new version of the Summary of Evidence, while some were not.
According to the Select Committee, freelance journalist Ms Kirsten Han requested 11 amendments. The committee stated that the Summary of Evidence has been amended to reflect five of these points, noting that she had also written separately to the committee enquiring if the matter would be addressed urgently and if the summary would be taken down on pending a review.
In a snarky remark on the point of amendments to Ms Han’s summary, the Committee noted that her position on the summary of her own testimony is in stark contrast to the view she expressed before the Select Committee on the takedown of online falsehood. Nothing should be taken down, save as a last resort, she suggested.
Ms Han has since written in response to the committee’s remark here.
Mr Howard Lee, a former editor of social-political blogs in Singapore, requested no amendments to the existing statements, but asked for five additional points. The committee noted that these have been included.
Mr Jolovan Wham, a civil rights activist, was concerned that the written representation of Community Action Network was not taken into account. The committee stated that the written representation will be taken into account in the Committee’s report and analysis.
Mr Jolovan also asked for an additional point to be inserted to the summary of his evidence. The committee noted that this was inserted.
Mr Terry Xu, the chief editor of TOC, requested for three amendments. The committee noted that two of them were inserted.
Meanwhile, Mr Gaurav Keerthi, the founder of dialectic.sg and confirm.sg, requested nine amendments and the committee noted that five were inserted.
Mr Wham wrote in a comment section of the news published by The Straits Times, stating, “The Select Committee has misrepresented me (again!) and ST, in failing to check with me before publishing this story has contributed to the spread of online falsehoods. This is what happens when MSM editorial policy often assumes the authorities are the ones in possession of the “facts” and the “truth”. My complaint was that the committee had misquoted me by asserting that I said there was no evidence of online falsehoods. In actual fact, what I said was there is no empirical evidence that online falsehoods have a significant impact on Singapore society to warrant new legislation. But in the Select Committee’s press statement, which ST dutifully parroted, it says I was concerned that CAN’s written submission would not be taken into consideration at all. But this was not what was written in CAN’s official complaint to the committee.”
Some also questioned how the committee to tackle the spreading of fake news, ended up producing “fake news”.
Henryace Ace wrote, “Fake news committee produced inaccurate summaries. How ironic.”
Ryan Lee wrote, “The Straits Times has just made a correction to this article without providing any acknowledgement. After the portion in which Ms Han asked if there would be a takedown, the article, as of around 5 minutes ago at the time of this comment, wrote: “Ironically, during the hearing, she had been steadfast in her position against any new legislation to regulate speech, including ordering the takedown of deliberate online falsehoods. After several hours of debate, she said: “I would urge that to be the very last resort.””
Phillip Lim wrote, “Cannot even get a summary of evidence factually correct. Not one, but five.”