ST removes defamatory letter from site after TOC Editor issues letter of demand

ST removes defamatory letter from site after TOC Editor issues letter of demand

TOC Chief Editor Terry Xu took to Facebook today (1 October) to highlight a letter written by a member of the public and published by Straits Times on its forum which “contained highly defamatory allegations”.

In response to ST’s publication of the letter, Terry said he sent a letter of demand to the editors of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) yesterday (30 September) demanding that they take the letter down and undertake to not repeat the act.
Terry wrote in his post, “While I have not been told of the undertaking by SPH that they will not repeat the allegations, ST has since removed the letter.”
In the accompanying photo to the post, Terry highlighted the specific sentences that contained the falsehoods about The Online Citizen:

Image from Terry Xu / Facebook
Terry added that he did not ask for an apology or damages from SPH as he just wants “to see that the right thing is done”.
Terry continued, “There has been a lot of insinuations made about The Online Citizen recently and this has caused members of the public to hold untrue views of the site.”
“I do not fault the writer for having the views that she had but ST should have known better than to publish a letter that contains falsehoods especially when it refers to itself as the best antibiotics to “fake news”.”

Reference to Law Minister’s remark on law to protect from foreign elements

The letter referenced an ST article on the remarks made by the Minister of Law and Home Affairs Mr K Shanmugam, in which he was quoted as saying that Singapore sees it necessary to enact laws to counter the attempts of foreign elements to influence domestic policies and opinion.
It was reported that Mr Shanmugan had said, “We may also need to consider how we restrict foreign participation in the leadership of specific organisations… that are closely involved in our political landscape,” he said.
The ST article also highlighted that the minister said that the internet has revolutionised the interference of foreign powers in a country’s domestic affairs, noting that it could be more deadly than the military force in undermining a country’s politics and stability.
Update on 2 Oct 2019 2.40pm: SPH has just written to Terry, stating that the remarks made in his Facebook post, were unfair and uncalled for, and make serious allegations that have damaged its reputation as a trusted media organisation. It noted that the original post was taken down out of goodwill and without any admission of liability whatsoever. SPH states that it has taken further legal advice and are reposting the original Forum letter, and stand ready to defend its position.

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