Media Literacy Council says Calvin Cheng's comments 'insensitive' but not hate speech

SINGAPORE - Former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) and Media Literacy Council (MLC) member Calvin Cheng has apologised for making controversial comments online about killing the children of terrorists.

MLC's chairman Professor Tan Cheng Han said via the council's Facebook page that Cheng's comments did not amount to hate speech. However, Professor Tan said that Mr Cheng's comments were "insensitive and therefore inappropriate for a member of the MLC".

Professor Tan also said that he had spoken to Mr Cheng about the matter. "I have spoken to Mr Cheng and counselled him that as a member of the Council he will be held to and judged by a higher standard compared to a private citizen," he said.

Mr Cheng also posted an apology on his Facebook page. He said: "I should not have started off with that comment and opened myself up for attack by people waiting for the opportunity to do me in."

"I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to my fellow MLC members, the MDA and my supporters for not having been more careful as a public figure who has made many enemies online in these 5 years."

On November 17, Mr Cheng had posted a comment on a Facebook post by Devadas Krishnadas, CEO of the Future-Moves Group. His comment was said to have advocated the killing of the children of terrorists.

Mr Cheng later took to his blog to further elaborate and explain what his intent was in posting the initial comment.

In the latest post published on November 27, Mr Cheng said he started "with a provocative comment, hoping to tease out a philosophical discussion about the killing of children (and women) terrorists, a moral issue that we find hard to deal with".

He also said that the post would be his final comments on the matter.