As Singapore keeps a close eye on the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, the government has also swung into action against any false posts regarding the disease.
The office overseeing the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) issued a general correction notice to SPH Magazines over a post on HardwareZone Forum which falsely reported a death from the Wuhan virus in Singapore.
The notice was issued on the instruction of Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, according to a POFMA Office media release on Monday.
The post on the HardwareZone Forum, which has since been removed, was put up on January 26 and claimed that a 66-year-old man had died from the Wuhan coronavirus in Singapore. The post was reportedly viewed by 4,600 unique visitors before it was taken down.
“A false statement was made in a HardwareZone forum post, claiming that a man has died from the Wuhan coronavirus infection in Singapore. HardwareZone is required to carry the Correction Notice to all end-users in Singapore who use HardwareZone.com,” said the POFMA Office.
"We must take swift action against such falsehoods. Otherwise, there is a grave risk that they will spread and cause panic among our citizens. And that is why we have POFMA and we will not hesitate to use the powers under the law to take action against any party that spreads such falsehoods," said Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran at a press conference on January 27.
The Minister also said that his ministry was working with the Ministry of Health to share all important information with the public through social media and websites.
"The situation is fluid and we need the help and cooperation of the media, all Singaporeans and the residents in this critical national effort to prevent misinformation and falsehoods about the Wuhan coronavirus from sowing fear and causing panic in our society," he said.
Singapore has so far confirmed 5 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus with no deaths reported.