Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information declares The Online Citizen Asia’s (TOC) online platforms as Declared Online Locations under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act, warning visitors about TOC’s history of propagating falsehoods. This unprecedented declaration follows a series of POFMA correction directions issued by the Government amidst discussions surrounding scandals involving members of the People’s Action Party and the growing public distrust of the ruling party. The declaration’s validity will last two years, continuing until 21 July 2025.
Josephine Teo shares that the Singapore government is retaining the right to terminate funding to SPH Media Trust (SMT) if misconduct or serious wrongdoings are discovered. She also confirms the disbursement of the first funding tranche of the S$900million for SMT in March 2023. Ms Teo reiterated the government’s decision to continue funding SMT, stressed that trusted news media, enabled by quality journalism, is a public good that cannot be compromised.
Minister Josephine Teo has rejected an application by the Transformative Justice Collective (TJC) to cancel a correction direction issued to them under Singapore’s Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA). The correction direction was issued in response to TJC’s Facebook post regarding the execution of Tangaraju S/O Suppiah. The Ministry of Home Affairs stated that the posts contained false statements about Tangaraju’s case. TJC has 14 days to file an application to the High Court to set aside the correction direction.
Minister Josephine Teo assures that government funding for Singapore media will not jeopardize the trust between the media and the government, emphasizing the importance of credibility and audience engagement. She highlights the role of the media in nation-building and unity during challenging times. While acknowledging the disruption caused by online platforms, she emphasizes the need for media companies to undergo successful digital transformation and provide effective news provision. Minister Teo also reaffirms the government’s commitment to supporting local media and their efforts to provide high-quality and credible content. In February, Mrs. Teo confirmed the government’s commitment to funding SPH Media Trust (SMT) for local newsroom development, despite the revelation of inflated circulation data between September 2020 and March 2022.
Augustine Low, a Singaporean commentator, discusses in his latest op-ed how the “degree of training” that Singapore’s leaders go through before moving up the ranks sets them apart from leaders of other countries. However, he points out that to get the full story, we have to ask what purpose this training serves and to what end. According to Low, there is a sameness about the ministers in the cabinet, making it difficult to tell one minister apart from another. They are all cut from the same cloth, straight from the same assembly line, making conformity and groupthink their trademark.
A recent Channel News Asia poll found that 78% of Singapore-born citizens considered it important for new citizens to be able to communicate in English. This is in light of the proposal by the Leader of the Opposition Mr Pritam Singh at the Ministry of Home Affairs Committee of Supply debates for an English proficiency test for citizenship applicants to ensure better integration between new citizens and Singaporeans of all races and religions. Several netizens have criticized Minister Josephine Teo for dismissing the Leader of Opposition’s suggestion for an English test to be applied for new citizenship as a clear sign of disconnection between the Minister and ground sentiments on the issue.