State media ChannelNewsAsia and Suria Online were forced to post an apology yesterday (Feb 10) for misquoting Law Minister K Shanmugam in a propaganda article on Muslim teachings. The tongue-twisting snake of a Minister apparently confused his own propaganda writers and had to issue a ministry statement via the Ministry of Home Affairs:
“CNA Online’s article ‘A fight for the hearts and minds: K Shanmugam on addressing radical content online’ misquoted Mr Shanmugam’s response to a question on countering radical content online. It was wrongly reported that he said “the real antidote is to gather our young people, as well as have the authorities look at the content put out by the Islamic Religious Authority of Singapore and other Muslim leaders, and point out what is wrong when necessary. The same error was repeated in Suria Online’s Malay article. What Mr Shanmugam actually said was ‘the real antidote is to get our young people, and get our people to go to the mosques, and also look at the content that MUIS and our Muslim leaders put out.”
According to sources close with CNA, some Malay readers complained about K Shanmugam’s comments questioning why should the government vet the teachings of local Muslims as if they are terrorists. The Ministry of Home Affairs was alerted and had to issue the “emergency directive” to the state media, to save K Shanmugam’s reputation.
CNA posted the following footnote in it’s corrected article:
“Editor’s Note: In an earlier version of the story, we misquoted Mr Shanmugam as saying the authorities need to look at the content put out by MUIS and other Muslim leaders, and point out what is wrong when necessary. This has since been corrected. Mr Shanmugam had in fact said it is the teachings in mosques, as well as content put out by local Muslim leaders and MUIS, that is the real antidote to the spread of radical content online. And he added that we have to point out – and fight – what is wrong about the teachings found in radical content online. We are sorry for the error.”