JUST IN: In South Africa, Fake News About Coronavirus is 6 Months Imprisonment.

Amidst the viral fake news that is threatening the fight against coronavirus in Africa and the world, the South African government took a bold step and yesterday passed a law that prohibits the sharing of misinformation/fake news/unverified news about COVID-19 on both the print and social media. This new law says offenders are liable to 6 months in prison with or without an option of fine.

In South Africa, Fake News About Coronavirus is 6 Months Imprisonment
In South Africa, Fake News About Coronavirus is 6 Months Imprisonment

This information was first shared by media expert and legal expert on media freedom, Dario Milo on his social media handle.

He wrote:

“Just in that fake news/ disinformation about COVID19 becomes a criminal offence in South Africa.

Today’s Government Gazette with regulations under Disaster Management Act; thanks @Billbobbird for sharing: section 11(4)

Any person who publishes any statement, through any medium, including social media, with the intention to deceive any other person about—

(a) COVID-19;
(b) COVID-19 infection status of any person; or
(c) any measure taken by the Government to address COVID-19, commits an offence.
Punishable by 6 months imprisonment or fine or both Requirement of “intention to deceive” likely means justifiable limitation on freedom of expression in the circumstances.
An example of the narrow criminal offence I mentioned on Media Matters disinformation panel today.”
It is a known fact that the wrong messages move faster than the right ones. We need to ensure that we are disseminating factual information and encouraging the media to do the same.

The following fake news/disinformation went viral on social media in Nigeria (Africa) and medical experts are still having a hard time disabusing the minds of persons who swallowed these toxic information hook, line and sinker.

* Coronavirus is a scam, a ploy by politicians to steal money..
* Coronavirus do not kill blacks.
* Blacks are immune to coronavirus story, so why panic?
* Coronavirus cannot survive Africa’s hot climate.
* COVID-19 is a depopulation plan by foreign powers.
* Many more.


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