TL;DR – Wake Up Singapore is required to publish the correction notices as specified by the POFMA Office for all its posts containing the falsehoods.
Alternative news site Wake up Singapore (WUS) has been issued a correction direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) for publishing a woman’s claims that she bled and lost a baby during a four-hour wait at the accident and emergency department at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).
In a media release on Sunday (27 March), the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that it has instructed the POFMA Office to issue a Correction Direction to WUS in respect of the falsehoods.
MOH said that despite the apology from WUS, the allegations are serious and have been circulated to various other platforms.
“This could lead to the erosion of public trust in the credibility and professionalism of our healthcare system and institutions,” the ministry added.
Hence, to ensure that the public is provided with the full facts, WUS is required to publish the correction notices as specified by the POFMA Office for each webpage and social media post containing the falsehoods.
It added that the Government takes a serious view of these falsehoods and that the matter has been referred to the relevant authorities for investigation.
Background of what happened
On 23 March, WUS put up a post of a claim made by a woman who alleged that she had lost her baby after waiting at the accident and emergency department for about four hours.
In the post, which had been widely shared on social media before it was taken down, the woman said she was 20-weeks pregnant and test positive for COVID-19.
After being denied treatment at two other private hospitals, the woman arrived at KKH at around 2pm but was told to wait at the drop-off area. She added that at 5pm, she started to bleed profusely but was still not attended to.
At 6pm, a doctor checked and told her that she had suffered a miscarriage.
No records of the said incident at KKH
Following the post which went viral, KKH said there were no records of the said pregnant woman, and the hospital said that it was not able to identify the patient despite its “best efforts”.
The hospital also added that there were discrepancies between the story and the bill information shared online.
KKH later revealed that it has made a police report over the claims.
Wake Up Singapore says “Sorry”
Shortly after the news that a police report has been filed broke, WUS issued an apology saying that the woman had lied about the incident and the claims made by the woman were untrue.
In the apology post, the alternative news site said that they “were lied to at every turn” and it sought forgiveness from KKH, its staff, and readers.