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Pofma restrictions imposed on Gutzy Asia over 'multiple falsehoods'

Pofma restrictions imposed on Gutzy Asia over 'multiple falsehoods'
Gutzy Asia and its social media pages on Facebook and X have been designated as Declared Online Locations.
PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Gutzy Asia

SINGAPORE —?Media portal Gutzy Asia and its social media pages on Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter, have been designated as Declared Online Locations (DOLs) under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma), after its online accounts were issued three Pofma correction directions within six months.

The declaration by Minister for Communications and Information (MCI) Josephine Teo on June 11 will last for two years, from June 12 until June 11, 2026.

During this period, Gutzy Asia’s website, Facebook page and X account page are each required to carry a notice stating that they have been declared as DOLs. This is to warn visitors that it has a history of communicating falsehoods on these online locations, and to advise them to fact-check the information published.

Owners of DOLs cannot derive financial or other material benefit from operating the sites. This means that service providers and digital advertising intermediaries must ensure that paid content are not communicated in Singapore.

Individuals and companies must also not provide financial support to the DOLs if they know or believe that this would support, help, or promote the communication of falsehoods in Singapore.

An online location may be declared by authorities as a DOL if it has received three or more correction directions under the law within six months.

On Oct 16, 2023, Gutzy Asia reported that a woman who had fallen off a building in Yishun and died was a Filipino migrant domestic worker or a Filipino worker, when she was a Singaporean.

On Feb 15, 2024, it carried falsehoods concerning the assistance rendered to a husband-and-wife couple who live in West Coast.

A few days later, on Feb 18, it said that the Singapore Land Authority mismanaged state properties by charging Minister K Shanmugam and Minister Vivian Balakrishnan rent at below market value for 26 and 31 Ridout Road, and had given the ministers preferential tenancy terms.

There are nine other DOLs in effect from July 22, 2023 till Dec 11, 2025. They are Reform Party chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam’s Facebook page, Instagram page, LinkedIn page and X account page, The Ricebowl Singapore website, The Online Citizen (TOC) Asia’s website, Facebook page, LinkedIn page and X account page.

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TOC was previously run by its chief editor, Terry Xu. In March, Xu wrote on Facebook that he was part of a team that launched Gutzy Asia after TOC’s platforms were designated as DOLs.

The owner or operator of a DOL, or any person with editorial control over the DOL, may apply to the MCI minister to vary or cancel the declaration. If the minister refuses the application, an appeal can be made to the High Court.?

The Straits Times has contacted Gutzy Asia for comments.

ALSO READ:?Leong Mun Wai's Pofma-ed Facebook post: Eric Chua reveals Pritam directed Leong to couple, Pritam explains why

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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