TOC editor Terry Xu to be charged with criminal defamation for article on MP Seah Kian Peng's Facebook post

The article in question was not written by Willy Sum.

Jonathan Lim | December 12, 2018, 05:00 PM

The Online Citizen (TOC) editor Terry Xu will be charged in court on Dec. 13 with criminal defamation in relation an article published on TOC.

The case

On Sept. 4, TOC published the article "The take away from Seah Kian Ping's Facebook post", which was written by a "Willy Sum".

The article alleged that the Singapore Constitution had been tampered with and that there was also “corruption at the highest echelons”. It also criticised the current leadership in Singapore.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) then lodged a police report against TOC and "Willy Sum" as the article had "made serious allegations that undermine the public's confidence in the government's integrity".

Subsequently on Nov. 20, Xu had his publishing equipment seized and was brought in for police questioning at Police Cantonment Complex.

After his equipment was taken from him, Xu announced that he would resume publishing articles on TOC on Nov. 26.

He added that he could do so as “a number of kind hearted individuals” joined his long-standing Patreon campaign and also took on paid subscriptions to TOC’s website.

Second person charged

The second person charged in this case is Daniel Augustin De Costa.

According to the police, investigations suggest that De Costa had written the article in question and sent it to TOC using Willy Sum's email address without Sum's knowledge.

The police also said that Xu published the article without verifying the identity of the author.

De Costa will be charged for criminal defamation and unauthorised access to computer material.

Top image adapted from Terry Xu's Facebook page