A warning to everyone in the UAE. Please make sure you verify the information you share when posting on social media because spreading fake news and unverified information can lead you to get detained and possibly fined and arrested.
Just recently, two persons were detained for spreading fake news about COVID-19. Rumour about a family of 5 who contracted the disease and died was investigated and turned out to be fake. The people who started the rumour were held accountable and were detained.
The UAE is very strict in terms of its rules on posting on social media because it does not want to spread confusion and panic among its residents and citizens that is why it is important that we should all think and investigate ourselves before spreading any news and information online.
— NCEMA UAE (@NCEMAUAE) August 25, 2020
2 Men Arrested Over Fake News of Emirati Family Dying due to COVID-19
Dr. Saif Al Dhaheri, Official Spokesperson of The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, confirmed the joint national media group within the authority is working according to certain methodologies. These methodologies have been developed and approved in cooperation with all partners from the concerned authorities, the media and social networks. The aim of these methodologies is to protect society from misinformation and they are in place to deal with transparency in accordance with the national protocol for the dissemination and exchange of information in media and social networks related to the emerging COVID-19.
Al Dhaheri revealed the authorities began an investigation last Thursday evening immediately after the publishing of a fabricated story about the death of five members of one family as a result of COVID-19. This was actioned to verify the facts and the accuracy of the information contained in the story. Monitoring, follow-up and coordination with the concerned authorities and The Federal Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Prosecution was carried out to investigate the facts in less than 48 hours. Once it became clear that the story was fabricated, the necessary measures were taken.
Al Dhaheri stressed that all those negligent in following the national protocol for the dissemination and exchange of information in the media and social networks related to COVID-19 will be held accountable, stressing that the national media is fighting this pandemic by providing accurate, transparent information and scientific analysis supported by facts. Media have to play an effective role in confronting the large amount of misinformation and rumour’s that have flooded social media platforms since the start of the pandemic.
Al Dhaheri warned against disrespecting the confidence of society and causing panic by broadcasting false news, data or rumours or by broadcasting propaganda and incorrect stories, as they disturb security and community peace, spread terror among people and harm the public interest.
He thanked the authorities who took corrective measures to deal with this issue, explaining that the authority relies on all partners in the national media to verify the accuracy of information so as not to cause any impact on the security of society. Media should be supporting the country’s efforts to confront COVID-19, according to the integrated work system that began more than eight months ago, as well as supporting the sacrifices of our heroes from the first lines of defence.
For his part, Salem Al Zaabi, Acting Director of the Federal Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Prosecution revealed all facts related to the incident of the Abu Dhabi Sports channel, which broadcasted live throughout the channel’s correspondent the story of the five deaths from COVID-19 from one family.
The pandemic has negatively affected life in every country, which is why the leadership have been extremely cautious from the start when advising people on how to deal with it professionally, based on solid scientific evidence.