wake up singapore koh defamation
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The founder of Wake Up, Singapore, Ariffin Sha, will be charged for defamation today (April 24) for his involvement in the publication of an article which propagated a false story of a miscarriage that occurred at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).

The 26-year-old will be charged under Section 500 of the Penal Code 1871 and can be jailed for a term of up to two years, fined or both.

In a statement released on Tuesday (April 23), the police said that KKH had lodged a police report over the article, which alleged that the hospital’s mismanagement of healthcare services resulted in a female patient suffering a miscarriage.

“Upon receiving the police report from KKH, the police consulted the Attorney-General’s Chambers and were authorised to investigate the matter,” it said. Investigations revealed that the allegations in the aforementioned article were untrue.

What led to the defamation charge?

On March 23, 2022, Wake Up, Singapore put up a first-person account of a woman’s claims of having a miscarriage at KKH.

In the post which has since been taken down, the woman claimed that she was initially denied treatment when reaching the hospital, and eventually waited for hours before a doctor attended to her.

She also accused the hospital staff of displaying a lack of professionalism and dumping out her dead foetus with the medical waste. 

A copy of the hospital bill was also posted on the website as proof that the hospital visit took place on February 28 that year.

Conversations between the woman and Wake Up, Singapore/ Image Credit: Kuanyewism

However, KKH said that there appeared to be discrepancies between the reported account and the bill information shared online, and made an appeal for the woman to contact KKH directly. The hospital then announced that announced that it had filed a police report on the matter.

After finding out that KKH filed a police report, Wake Up, Singapore informed the woman who contacted the company with her claims. She later admitted that she lied, and asked the platform to recant her original statements. 

Wake Up, Singapore issued an apology on its platforms on March 25, 2022/ Image Credit: Wake Up, Singapore via Facebook

Following the incident, Wake Up, Singapore issued an apology on its platforms on March 25. It was also issued a correction direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) on March 27 by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

According to MOH, subsequent investigations by KKH confirmed that the patient had been seen by a doctor within an hour of her arrival at the hospital in February, and that she did not suffer any miscarriage.

The alternative news site said that it had acted in “good faith” when it received the tip-off from the woman by verifying her account and asking for proof of her claims.

It added that it was “fed lies at every turn” and that the call logs, invoices and correspondence with the complainant “may have all been doctored”.

“We are sorry. It was a genuine mistake.”

When contacted by TODAY, Ariffin said that the incident was a “genuine mistake”.

“Although we were lied to and misled with some documents, there were things that we could have done better. We take full responsibility for the incident and we have since put in place measures to ensure that such an event does not reoccur.”

He added that the platform has fully cooperated during the course of investigations, “acted swiftly” to inform readers and apologised both publicly and privately, on top of complying with the POFMA order.

“Wake Up, Singapore is a volunteer-run independent platform and we will continue to strive to do better,” Ariffin said.

Featured Image Credit: Wake Up, Singapore/ Dortek

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)