Singapore Elections Department files police report against website for breaching election advertising rules during GE2020

The Elections Department said that the website had published paid advertisements that amounted to illegal conduct of election activity under Section 83(2) of the Parliamentary Elections Act. — TODAY pic
The Elections Department said that the website had published paid advertisements that amounted to illegal conduct of election activity under Section 83(2) of the Parliamentary Elections Act. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Sept 18 — A police report has been filed against socio-political website New Naratif for breaching election rules during the 2020 General Election.

The Elections Department (ELD) said today that the website had published paid advertisements that amounted to illegal conduct of election activity under Section 83(2) of the Parliamentary Elections Act.

It added that the Assistant Returning Officer had issued three notices to Facebook on July 3, July 7 and July 8 to remove five unauthorised paid advertisements published on New Naratif’s Facebook page.

“Under the Act, the conduct of any election activity requires prior written authority signed by a candidate or his election agent,” said ELD.

The department added that “election activity” includes any activity which is done for the purpose of promoting or procuring the electoral success at any election for one or more identifiable political parties, candidates or groups of candidates. 

It also includes any activity that prejudices the electoral prospects of other political parties, candidates or groups of candidates at the election.

“Neither New Naratif nor its representatives or agents were authorised by any candidate or election agent in this General Election to conduct election activity,” said ELD.

ELD said it had also released a media statement after the first takedown was issued to Facebook on July 3. 

In that statement, the department said New Naratif was deemed to be conducting election activity for placing paid internet election advertising, though the website had not been authorised to do so.

The statement had also reminded the public of the regulations, said ELD, but on July 4, New Naratif publicised the takedown decision and continued to publish other paid advertisements.

Conducting election activity without authorisation by a candidate or his election agent from the start of the campaign period is an offence under Section 83(2) of the Act. 

Any person convicted of such an offence may be fined up to S$2,000 (RM6,086), jailed for up to 12 months, or both. — TODAY

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