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Spreading Fake COVID-19 News Can Land You in Jail

Author: Myolisi Gophe

Spreading fake news about the coronavirus COVID-19 is a criminal offence, and can put you behind bars.

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(Published - 19 March 2020)

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs issued Disaster Management Act Regulations yesterday to curb the spread of COVID-19 which, among other things, make it illegal to disseminate fake news about the global pandemic.

According to the regulations any “person who publishes any statement, through any medium, including social media, with the intention to deceive any other person” about COVID-19, the infection status of any person or any measures taken by the government to address the pandemic, commits an offence.

The person will be liable, on conviction, to a fine or imprisonment for “a period not exceeding six months, or both such fine and imprisonment”.

The University will not hesitate to hand over cases of fake news and hoaxes to the SAPS.

Members of the University community are advised, once again, to remain calm and to use credible sources of information. UWC communications platforms are regularly updated and always ready to provide clarity on any matter.


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