Truth Warriors website puts up correction notices after Pofma direction over Covid-19 claims

As at Monday (Oct 25) morning, two of Truth Warriors' webpages each have a notice stating that they contain a false statement of fact.
As at Monday (Oct 25) morning, two of Truth Warriors' webpages each have a notice stating that they contain a false statement of fact.PHOTO: TRUTH WARRIORS

SINGAPORE - Local website Truth Warriors has published correction notices over claims it published about the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines and the safety and efficacy of ivermectin in preventing and treating the coronavirus.

As at Monday (Oct 25) morning, two of its webpages - both dated Aug 30 - each have a notice stating that they contain a false statement of fact.

They are titled: "Most Vaccinated Countries Have Most Covid Cases" and "Two Top Virologists' Frightening Warnings About Covid Injections: Ignored by Government and Big Media".

The correction notices can also be found in another webpage titled "Articles and Resources" which has links to the webpages containing the claims.

This comes after a Ministry of Health (MOH) statement on Sunday that Health Minister Ong Ye Kung had instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office to issue a correction direction to the website.

"The website is required to publish the correction notice at the top of each webpage containing the falsehoods," the statement said.

But the statement did not reveal how many webpages are affected by the correction direction or how long the website has to comply with the order.

In response to queries, the Pofma Office said: "The website has published the Pofma correction notice on the two webpages specified in the direction.”

Truth Warriors had published claims that vaccinated countries have the most cases and deaths per million population, and the least inoculated nations have the fewest cases and deaths per million population.

It also stated that vaccines do not prevent the spread of Covid-19.

These claims are false, said the MOH on Sunday.

"As of Oct 23, the weight of international evidence shows categorically that vaccines reduce Covid-19 infection, as well as serious illness and mortality rates from Covid-19 infection," added the ministry.

Among other things, it said latest available data does not support the claim that countries with the highest vaccination rates have the highest cases and deaths per million population.

As at Sunday, 84 per cent of the population in Singapore has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and 85 per cent has received at least one dose. Of the 84,581 cases reported over the last 28 days, over 98 per cent had no or mild symptoms.

MOH also debunked claims on the website about the effectiveness of ivermectin in preventing Covid-19 infection and that it is safe for such use, even by pregnant women.

Ivermectin is a prescription-only drug that is used to treat parasitic worm infections. While it has been studied as a potential treatment for Covid-19, there is no strong scientific evidence that it works.

This is not the first time MOH had addressed claims about ivermectin by Truth Warriors. The ministry had put up a Facebook post warning against the website on Oct 15.

"Self-medicating with ivermectin can be dangerous to one's health, and there have been reports of patients requiring hospitalisation after doing so," it said in its post, urging the public to avoid spreading misinformation.

A 65-year-old retiree was hospitalised earlier this month with fever and joint inflammation after she took four 3mg tablets of ivermectin over two days.

In its statement on Sunday, MOH also said criminal investigations will be conducted over the claims on the website but did not give further details.

Under the Pofma, individuals who do not comply with a correction direction can be jailed for up to a year or fined up to $20,000, or both.

Websites which receive three correction directions within six months can be designated a Declared Online Location (DOL) by the authorities.

The Pofma prohibits the provision of financial support to DOLs for the purposes of supporting, helping or promoting "the communication of false statements of facts".

It also allows the authorities to order an Internet service provider or intermediary to disable access to a DOL.