The Singapore High Court reversed a successful application for Protection From Harassment Act (PFHA) against the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) today (Dec 9), saying that the government organisation is not a “person” and hence not covered under the particular act.
Earlier in May this year, MINDEF applied for the newly-enacted harassment protection against news media TheOnlineCitizen (TOC) and Dr Ting because TOC published a video interview of Dr Ting’s story detailing the exchange between himself and MINDEF over a patent dispute of a mobile first aid vehicle.
PFHA was enacted in 2014 and has been largely criticised as a biased law enacted to protect the ruling party PAP and statutory boards from independent news media. The act was also previously invoked to protect the deceased dictator Lee Kuan Yew from criticisms. Today’s landmark ruling would hopefully alleviate some of the public’s fear in criticising the government.