SINGAPORE, May 9 (Bernama) -- A Singapore student has "unreservedly apologised" to the Agency for Science, Technology and Research of Singapore (A*Star) for a number of statements he posted on his blog against the agency.
The 23-year-old Chen Jiahao, currently studying in the United States, said he admitted and acknowledged "that these statements are false and completely without any foundation".
The apology came after A*Star demanded that he apologised unreservedly for publishing in his "Caustic Soda" blog what the agency said as defamatory accusations.
A check on the blog today showed that what remained on his blog was his apology to the agency.
It says: "I recognize and accept that a number of statements that I made on my on-line journal "Caustic Soda", in particular the blog post of 3 March 2005, were defamatory of A*STAR, its Chairman, Philip Yeo and its executive officers".
"I admit and acknowledge that these statements are false and completely without any foundation. I unreservedly apologize to A*STAR, its Chairman Mr. Philip Yeo, and its executive officers for the distress and embarrassment caused to them by these statements," he wrote.
Chen had taken the blog off-line on April 26 and published an apology but A*Star said it wanted the student to apologise unreservedly, retract what he had previously said in his blogs and promise not to do it again.
A*Star had given Chen until yesterday to apologise for what the agency said as defamatory accusations against it.
A blog, short for web log, is an online journal where a blogger published his thoughts on a periodical basis.
Such websites, which would typically be accessible to any Internet user, have become popular for the internet community to express their thoughts online.
And a rather interesting follow up from Reuters...By Geert De Clercq.
On Sunday he posted the new apology on his "Caustic Soda" blog, saying "I unreservedly apologise to A*STAR, its Chairman Mr. Philip Yeo, and its executive officers for the distress and embarrassment caused to them."
"They sent me an e-mail with these words," Chen told Reuters on Monday by telephone from the United States, where he studies chemical physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
A*STAR's Yeo said in a statement on Monday he accepted Chen's apology and considered the matter closed. "We wish him well. My invitation to Mr. Chen to meet for tea in the fall still remains," Yeo said.
Paris-based Reporters without Borders said the case highlighted the lack of free expression in Singapore, which is among the 20 lowest-scoring countries in the organisation's worldwide press freedom index.
"Chen criticised some of A*Star's policies but there was nothing defamatory in what he wrote," Julien Pain, head of Reporters without Borders' Internet freedom desk, told Reuters.
Entire Reuters article available here.