On Thursday (12 May), Activist Gilbert Goh had been issued a correction notice under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) over a Facebook post that he made on 24 April about a woman and her partner reportedly requiring financial assistance but had no one they could turn to help to.
The woman in question was referred to as “Mdm A” in the correction notice.
In the statement issued by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, it said that Mr Goh’s post “gives the impression that MSF and other agencies were not aware of, or doing anything about” about Mdm A’s situation.
Hence, the contents of the post are false.
The Assistance that Madam A has Received
In the correction notice, the Ministry lists out all the assistance the couple has received:
- Mdm A has received ComCare assistance from MSF since June 2015 without a pause.
- Her monthly assistance sum has also increased after May 2022.
- Her partner has also been receiving Comcare assistance for various periods since June 2015.
Most importantly, Mdm A and her husband have been given financial and non-financial help from community partners, such as Agency for Intergrated Care, MUIS (Islamic Religious Council of Singapore), Tan Tock Seng Hospital, THK Family Centre @ MacPherson and Home Nursing Foundation.
All in all, it amounts to more than $2,000 in financial support from MSF and other agencies each month. Plus, they also receive cash and other forms of assistance.
This is to clarify that the MSF are deeply aware of Mdm A’s troubles, and the government agency adds that Mdm A hadn’t reached out for additional help before the Facebook post was published.
Lastly, the MSF reinforces that such false statements should not be promulgated as it “erodes public trust and leads to misunderstanding” regarding the support and assistance that is provided to the families in need.
MSF and the other agencies pledge to do everything within their power to assist families and members of the public who are in need.
A Word or Two
It goes without saying that Gilbert Goh complied with the correction notice directions immediately, editing his Facebook post and redirecting his audience to the statement of facts at the top.
That being said, the majority of the post was a letter written by Mdm A to Gilbert Goh.
The details about not being able to afford their daily necessities and meals, the desperate need for money and the fear they won’t last through the month as their applications for financial assistance were being processed slower than expected, that’s all Mdm A’s handwriting.
The only input that Goh had in that Facebook post was in the editor’s note at the very bottom, where it wrote that they would be scheduling a meeting with the family soon and offering some financial assistance for Ramadan.
The financial duress that Mdm A and her husband were in, was happening even despite the financial assistance they already received, because it wasn’t enough in the face of the rising living costs.
To prove this point, even the correction notice states that the post was published before Mdm A reached out for additional assistance.
Honestly speaking, whose tongue is being cut short here exactly?
The activist who merely re-posted a cry for help verbatim, or the needy who reached out in the first place?
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