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Why isn’t Minister Edwin Tong issuing POFMA Correction Direction against the Thai PM or Bangkok Post?



Gutzy Asia​


Why isn’t Minister Edwin Tong issuing POFMA Correction Direction against the Thai PM or Bangkok Post?​

Minister Edwin Tong disputed claims by Thai PM Srettha about Taylor Swift’s concert deal costs, stating the actual amount is much lower than reported. Despite this, no POFMA correction has been issued against Thai PM Srettha or the Bangkok Post, which reported on his claims.

2 days ago
on 2 March 2024
ByTerry Xu

Just yesterday, Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth Edwin Tong told Channel News Asia in an interview on Friday that the figures provided by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin regarding the amount spent to secure an exclusive deal with pop diva Taylor Swift for her concert tour in Singapore were exaggerated.

He stated that it is ‘nowhere as high’ as reports have suggested.

“What I’ll say is this: The numbers that you see online—it is nowhere as high as what is being speculated.”

Prime Minister Srettha had earlier been quoted by the Bangkok Post on 16 February, saying that the global concert promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) informed him the Singapore government financially supported Taylor Swift’s concerts, offering US$2 million to 3 million per show in exchange for exclusivity in Southeast Asia.

This arrangement would imply that the government was set to pay around US$10 to 18 million for the six concerts hosted by Taylor Swift.

CNA further clarified in its report that it understands the figure to be closer to US$2 million to US$3 million in total for all six shows.

Beyond the disbelief that a billionaire entertainment entity would agree to an exclusive concert deal for just a mere US$3 million, it prompts the question of why Mr Tong has not issued a POFMA correction direction against the Bangkok Post for publishing what he claims to be a falsehood.

The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) was introduced as a measure against disinformation from both local and foreign actors.

In the introduction of the law back in 2019, the Minister for Home Affairs and Law cited examples of disinformation operations by a foreign country used to sway domestic sentiments in favour of a foreign state’s geopolitical goals as one of the reasons why POFMA is essential in Singapore.

Wouldn’t Mr Srettha’s inaccurate statements regarding Singapore’s spending be a situation where POFMA is applicable?

Naturally, one might argue that issuing a correction directive against a state head is unthinkable.

However, revisiting the instance when The Online Citizen was issued a POFMA correction direction by then-Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in April 2020 over a report that highlighted claims made by a Taiwanese outlet over Madam Ho Ching’s alleged salary of S$99 million a year as the CEO of Temasek is illustrative.

Although TOC was not the originator of the claim, it received the correction directive, while the Taiwanese outlet that made the claim did not. Thus, what Mr Tong could do is issue a correction directive to the Bangkok Post for disseminating the falsehood, as Mr Heng did with TOC. After all, Mr Tong himself has issued several POFMA correction directions over the years.

If no action is taken, it could be presumed either that what Mr Srettha said is indeed factual and the Singapore government is wary of direct confrontation or that POFMA is merely a tool to suppress its local media or political opponents rather than to address disinformation from overseas sources as it was purported to be.


Alfrescian (Inf)
They only bully those they can bully

POFMA is only used against Sinkie dissidents and wrongthinkers who are on the shithole island.

I have predicted this back when they were having 'debates' in Parleement on whether to make POFMA a law.

The whole premise of POFMA is based on a lie: the govt can be the arbiter of truth and the gatekeeper of information. If you don't see anything wrong with this, then you are part of the problem. :cool: