Pofma warning issued to Truth Warriors website admin over Covid-19 false claims

The warning issued was for two articles published on the website in August last year. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) Office issued a conditional warning to the administrator of the Truth Warriors website for publishing false claims, misleading people into thinking that Covid-19 vaccines are not effective in curbing the transmission of the virus.

The warning issued on Tuesday was for two articles published on the website in August last year, titled Two Top Virologists' Frightening Warnings About Covid Injections: Ignored By Government And Big Media, and Most Vaccinated Countries Have Most Covid Cases.

The Pofma Office said in a statement on Wednesday that the 12-month conditional warning was issued to the website's administrator, a 47-year-old woman, for "making statements knowing or having reason to believe that they are false and likely to harm the public interest".

The falsehoods ran counter to efforts to combat the Covid-19 virus, the statement added.

On Oct 24 last year, the woman, who was not named, was given a Pofma direction to carry correction notices on the website to inform Singaporeans of the falsehoods, said the Pofma Office.

It added that during investigations, the woman claimed she had checked the credentials of the original authors of the articles - Joel S. Hirschhorn and Rodney Atkinson - but could not be certain whether the information published was true.

If she reoffends during the 12-month warning period, she can be prosecuted for the original crime.

Under Section 7 of Pofma, a person convicted of an offence can be fined up to $50,000 or jailed for up to five years, or both.

The Truth Warriors website has as its tagline: "A naked truth is better than the best-dressed lie". A check by The Straits Times found that it published many articles on the downsides of the Covid-19 vaccines.

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

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