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Permanent Secretaries empowered to invoke anti-fake news law during general election

Jun 09, 2020 | 🚀 Fathership
SINGAPORE - More than 20 permanent secretaries have been empowered to invoke a controversial anti-fake news law on behalf of Singapore's ministers during a general election.

In a circular published in Monday's government e-gazette, it was announced that the perm secs have been appointed as "The Minister's alternate authority during an election period", in accordance with section 52(3) of the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act.They are the permanent secretaries for all 16 ministries and several portfolios in the Prime Minister's Office.

Only ministers are empowered to invoke POFMA, and to compel parties and individuals who are deemed to have published a false statement of fact online to issue corrections or remove articles.

The law states that once a Writ of Election is issued, ministers cease to have this power during the election period.

Shortly before Heng's comments, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said that there is "Not much time" left for Singapore's government to hold its next general election as the city-state has to dissolve parliament in January, months ahead of an April deadline.