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POFMA warning issued to Truth Warriors website administrator for false claims about COVID-19 vaccines

POFMA warning issued to Truth Warriors website administrator for false claims about COVID-19 vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccine being administered at Kolam Ayer Community Club, Singapore on Apr 21, 2021. (File photo: CNA/Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: An administrator for the Truth Warriors website was given a 12-month conditional warning under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) for publishing false claims about COVID-19 vaccines.

The POFMA Office said on Wednesday (Aug 31) that the warning was issued to the 47-year-old woman in relation to “false claims misleading people into thinking that the COVID-19 vaccines are not effective" in reducing transmission rates of the coronavirus.

The falsehoods ran counter to efforts to combat COVID-19, it added.

On Oct 24, 2021, a POFMA direction was issued to Truth Warriors to carry correction notices on its website to inform people of the falsehoods, the POFMA office said.

The correction direction involved posts on the website that contained falsehoods relating to the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and for promoting ivermectin to treat the coronavirus.

The Health Ministry said then that many of the materials published on the Truth Warriors website were from unverified and dubious sources, and that individuals who heed the advice on the website can endanger themselves and the people around them.

Ivermectin is a prescription-only medicine registered in Singapore specifically for the treatment of parasitic worm infections.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) "strongly advised" consumers against self-medicating with the drug, saying it is not an anti-viral medicine and is not approved by HSA for use in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

During the investigations, the woman claimed to have checked the credentials of the original authors of the articles, but admitted that she cannot be certain whether the information published was true, said the POFMA Office.

It issued the conditional warning to the woman for the charges after considering the facts and circumstances of the case.

If she reoffends during this period, the woman can be prosecuted for the original crime. An offence under Section 7 of the POFMA carries a fine of up to S$50,000, an imprisonment term of up to five years, or both.

"Online falsehoods that sow public confusion affect lives and harm society," the POFMA Office said. "The Government takes a serious view of the deliberate communication of these false statements."

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Source: CNA/ga(mi)


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