Possible Jail Time For Coronavirus Fake News Spreaders

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The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, set out the Regulations in terms of Section 27 (2) of the Disaster Management Act.

According to the Government Gazette, ‘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.’

According to the minister, the threat of a prison sentence or fine for spreading fake news about the outbreak will hopefully end the string of false claims about the virus, which have been flooding social media and creating general confusion. The regulation applies to both the creators of fake COVID-19 news and those who spread the news through social media and other channels.

Lying about being infected

Dlamini-Zuma said any person who intentionally misrepresents that he, she or any other person is infected with COVID-19 will be charged. On conviction, the person will be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both a fine and imprisonment.

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For more information, citizens can also visit the Department of Health’s official website: https://sacoronavirus.co.za