Friday, 7 August 2015

The Online Citizen ordered to take down article that claims the Government will use the Singapore Savings Bonds to finance an “underground city”

By Priscilla Goy, The Straits Times, 6 Aug 2015

Socio-political blog site The Online Citizen (TOC) has been ordered to take down an article again.

The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) issued a take-down notice to the site for an article titled "Severe consequences for a PAP majority with its underground city for 10m population". It was written by a "concerned Singaporean" and published last Friday.

This is the second time in about seven months that the AGC is citing the Protection from Harassment Act against TOC, according to a post on the site yesterday, written by executive editor Terry Xu.

The post had the headline "AGC threatens to use anti-harassment act on TOC - again".

[News Flash] FALSE! Singapore Savings Bonds won’t be used to finance an “underground city”. Read about it here:
Posted by Ministry of Finance (Singapore) on Wednesday, August 5, 2015

In a letter received by TOC yesterday afternoon, the AGC said the author of the article made a "patently false statement, namely that monies raised from the issuance of Singapore Savings Bonds will be used to finance the construction of an underground city for a population of 10 million".

This letter was reproduced in full on the TOC site. In the letter, the AGC said there was no plan to build a city or residential developments underground to accommodate a "10 million population".

Underground space has been developed for infrastructure such as MRT rail lines, utilities and storage spaces, it said. "This is intended in fact to prioritise and maximise surface land to create a good environment which meets the needs of our people and their families to work, live and play."

The AGC also noted that TOC did not check with the Ministry of National Development before publishing the article, and requested that it either remove the article or include an AGC notice as a preface to the article.

It added that if TOC did not comply with the request by 6pm yesterday, it would take out an application under Section 15 of the Protection from Harassment Act to obtain a court order restraining further publication of the specific false statement in the article .

As of last night, the AGC notice was found at the top of the article which AGC had issue with.

TOC was recently issued a take-down notice for publishing a letter from teen blogger Amos Yee's lawyer, Mr Alfred Dodwell, which was deemed in contempt of court.

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