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Panel on fake news makes some changes to evidence summaries

Select Committee: Freelance journalist among five who requested changes to summaries of evidence at hearing

The parliamentary committee on deliberate online falsehoods has made some of the changes requested by freelance journalist Kirsten Han, activist Jolovan Wham and three others to the summaries of the evidence they gave at last month's public hearings.

The new versions can be seen on the Parliament website.

In a statement yesterday, the Select Committee also pointed out that Ms Han had written to it separately, inquiring whether the original versions of the summaries would be taken down while the amendments were being considered.

"The committee notes that her position on the summary of her own testimony is in stark contrast to the view she expressed before the Select Committee on the take-down of online falsehoods," it said.

Ms Han had suggested during the hearings that nothing should be taken down, save as a last resort.

The Select Committee said the requests for changes to the summaries were made after the hearings ended on March 30.

It received e-mails from five witnesses asking for the summaries of evidence, published on the Parliament website, to be amended.

The committee explained that the summaries were produced as working notes for reference each day. Its analysis and report will be based on the "full verbatim transcripts of the hearings, as well as the written submissions".

It also pointed out that all witnesses were told they could check the transcripts of their own appearances before the committee.

Ms Han had asked for 11 amendments to the summary, the committee said. Of these, five are reflected in the new version.

Mr Wham was concerned that the written representation of non-governmental group Community Action Network was not taken into account, the committee said.

"Written representations will be taken into account in the committee's report and analysis."

Mr Wham's request for an additional point to be inserted into the summary has been done, it added.

Former website editor Howard Lee did not ask for any changes to the existing statements but wanted five additional points to be included. These are now in the new version.

The Online Citizen chief editor Terry Xu asked for three changes, of which two have been inserted.

Mr Gaurav Keerthi, founder of debating websites Dialectic.sg and Confirm.sg, wanted nine changes. The new version has five of them.

The majority of the 65 people who gave testimony during the eight days of hearings had no issues with the summaries of evidence.

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