A journalist who owns a website that deals with parenting issues received a suspended six-month prison sentence and was fined 500 euros by a court in Veria, northern Greece, on Monday for reproducing false news over the Internet.
The journalist was convicted in absentia for an article published in 2009 titled “Shock: See how companies are spreading cancer through a vaccine” – in reference to a girl who received the MMR vaccine and then died from a brain tumor.
The site “fraudulently” linked her death to the vaccine drawing a storm of protests and complaints from doctors and health authorities.
This was the first conviction in a Greek court for the reproduction of hoaxes and fraudulent news over the Internet. Since 2009, the article has been reproduced by dozens of websites and blogs.
“Whatever we write, this story will continue to pop up and will find people that want to listen,” said Dimitris Daniilidis, the owner of the Ellinika (Greek) Hoaxes website, which played a major role in demonstrating the story’s lack of credibility.