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States Times Review Refuses To Take Down Article Linking Lee Hsien Loong With 1MDB

The article in question, titled Lee Hsien Loong Becomes 1MDB’s Key Investigation Target, was posted on Monday on the States Times Review. It alleged that Malaysia had signed several unfair agreements with Singapore in exchange for Singapore banks’ assistance in laundering the funds of Malaysian state fund 1MDB. The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) issued a notice on Friday asking the alternative news website to take down the article by 5pm on Friday. Failing which, the media authority said, it would block access to the site. It also asked Facebook to remove a post linking to the article. An email letter from IMDA was reproduced by the States Times Review in its Facebook post. IMDA said in the notice that publication of the letter would be an “aggravating factor” that would warrant further regulatory action from the authority. The States Times Review website was inaccessible at about 9pm, checks by Channel NewsAsia showed, although the Facebook post on the article in question was still accessible. A message displayed on the website read: “The website that you are trying to access is unavailable as it contains prohibited material.” Readers were directed to the IMDA’s website for more information on how it regulates content. Less than an hour later, founder Alex Tan wrote again on Facebook, saying that the website had been “blocked under false charges of ‘fake news’ and ‘criminal defamation’ and that he planned to shut it down. He also said he would “stop writing and continue (his) life in Australia”. “Accordingly, IMDA has assessed that the article undermined public confidence in the integrity of the Singapore Government and is objectionable on grounds of public interest, and would therefore constitute prohibited content under IMDA’s Internet Code of Practice,” the media authority said. Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said that the article added a “nasty and malicious twist” to bilateral issues that had been made public and contained “absurd allegations”. [video width="400" height="224" mp4="https://thecoverage.my/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/45640237_1407077852756122_8149730126678982656_n.mp4"][/video] Source : Channel News Asia When asked if a foreign government could be involved in the spread of the false allegations, Mr Shanmugam said he did not want to speculate. However, basic checks would have shown the allegations to be false, he said, and yet they were picked up by mainstream media in Malaysia. “The natural question is, why did they publish these falsehoods – probably knowing that there is no basis … It is obvious also to anyone who publishes them that the allegations … will try to damage the prime minister and seek to damage Singapore,” he said. “The modus – (it) appears in obscure sites and then gets picked up by mainstream media to make it look real … The Select Committee (on Deliberate Online Falsehoods) has set out instances where this has been done elsewhere. So it is very curious – that’s what I can say.”  

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