TSMP Law Corporation partner in the litigation department Ong Pei Ching was quoted in a personal column written by Vivien Ang of the Business Times on the topic of whether online vigilantes have altruistic intentions or are merely venting their own frustrations at the tough movement-restricting measures amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It was published in the 25-26 April 2020 weekend edition.
She said: “The enemy is the virus, not one another. Before posting anything on social media, we should ask ourselves… Is your post of a “Covidiot” meant to raise awareness, or just a channel for your pent-up anger and frustration at the movement-control measures? Of course, we also have to consider whether our posts may have legal consequences, such as being breaches of anti-doxxing laws, or are defamation lawsuits in the making.
“On the other hand, we have a right to, and the authorities are even encouraging us to, make reports if we see contraventions of the Covid-19 related laws. This is especially so for people who flagrantly breached the law and put others in danger. Perhaps the only question to ask yourself before making a report is whether the alleged breach is so trivial that you may be wasting law enforcers’ time and resources. After all, there is a qualitative difference in both culpability and public health risks between a young child momentarily pulling his mask off versus a group of adults hosting a house party.”