In real life, truth and falsehood are rarely binary and cannot be so easily delineated between being simply ‘true’ or ‘false’. Two parties to a conversation may recall the conversation differently, two observers of an incident may describe it differently, and two different people may perceive the same event differently. What our worker clients tell TWC2 may be different from what they tell the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), or what we understand from words spoken by a worker is different from the understanding of an MOM official.
Migrant workers are highly conscious of the power MOM officials have over their lives – their right to work, their right of stay, their chances of obtaining remedy are all dependent on administrative decisions – and it should come as no surprise that workers can be very strategic about what to reveal to MOM or what to emphasise. With befrienders like TWC2, we have reason to believe the same workers would be more open and honest when speaking to us. To us, a worker may spill his/her guts out on how an MOM official was handling the case, or the rude manner in which he/she was spoken to, but the worker would know it is foolish to make an issue of it to MOM itself. Likewise, a worker might have related to us in exhaustive detail the problems with his/her employment, but held back by choosing only to mention the most pressing issue when lodging a formal complaint at MOM.
Historically, this has been the most common type of disagreement we have had with MOM on articles appearing on our website. We faithfully capture the story told to us by a worker in an article, only to be told later by MOM that that is not the version they have on record. Under the new powers under POFMA, any arm of the government including MOM has the legal tools to demand a denunciation or excision of our published version from this website and the public record.
If and when we are issued a “Correction Notice” under POFMA relating to any published article on this website, we will simply do the needful to obey the law, state as required that there is a “false statement of fact”, and carry out any other directives including publishing a government-specified revised version of the statement of fact.