NATIONAL NEWS & VIDEO - If you publish fake news or disinformation online regarding the coronavirus, you may be arrested, detained and prosecuted. If found guilty, you may be sent to jail for up to six months.
This is in terms of regulations issued by the Minister of Cooperate Governance and Traditional Affairs, doctor Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, on Wednesday (18 March).
Specifically, the notice states that:
“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 and is liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both such fine and imprisonment.”
The regulations were published while various untruths were doing the rounds online.
One example is this notice appearing to be from the South African Judiciary.
It indicated that certain matters would no longer be heard in Gauteng-based high courts. The judiciary has since issued the notice below stating that the above message was not sent from their offices.
Another post that was shared widely by social media users reportedly states that drinking hot water and being exposed to the sun will kill the virus. It purported to be from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and also advised people to avoid ice cream.
UNICEF indicated that this was disinformation that was not posted by the organisation.
In another report, Caxton Local Media distinguishes between fact and fiction on Covid-19. Read it here.
Watch a video below: