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S. African gov’t warns against fake news about coronavirus

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The South African government warned on Wednesday that peddling fake news about the COVID-19 outbreak “is unacceptable and dangerous to our society.

“All of us have a responsibility to desist from peddling fake news,” acting government spokesperson Phumla Williams said.

This came after a 55-year-old man was arrested on Monday for circulating a misleading Facebook video, in which he calls on South Africans to reject COVID-19 testing because the test kits “are contaminated.”

The suspect appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday to face charges of violating the Disaster Management Act Regulation.

The Act prohibits publishing information through any medium including social media with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19.

Peddling fake news should be condemned by all South Africans who remain committed in fighting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Williams said.

The government, in collaboration with key leading social media platforms, continues to work toward curbing disinformation practices within the public information systems, according to Williams.

She called on communities to work with the government and report any person who misleads the public with wrong information, she said.

“We wish to reiterate that all the testing kits and other equipment used by the Department of Health and the relevant medical institutions are of high standard that have been approved by the South African Bureau of Standards,” Williams said.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)

Fatima Sule: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng