Fearful of the proliferation of “false information” by citizen journalist sites, a law expert in Singapore has come out in support of extending the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) to include government agencies under its umbrella.

Singapore Management University law professor Eugene Tan, who participated in the debates on the anti-harassment bill when he was a Nominated Member of Parliament in 2014, has come out to say that public bodies should be protected to “fill a lacuna in the law”.

“Otherwise, a public body might have to spend (an) inordinate (amount of) time and other limited resources to defend itself … In today’s world of pervasive social media, the ability of an individual to harass an organisation is real and the real threat posed by false information cannot be underestimated,” he said.

This blurt comes in the wake of a civil society victory when the court of appeal ruled 2-1 that government agencies do not fall under the legal definition of “persons” in Section 15 of the POHA, which allows the court to order the publisher of a false statement to bring the falsehood to readers’ attention.

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