UAE detains two involved in spreading false rumours about 5 COVID-19 deaths in a family

File image used for illustrative purposes: A man wearing a protective mask stands at a racetrack overlooking Dubai
Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi:  The UAE Public Prosecutor has ordered the preventive detention of two individuals who spread false rumors about the death of 5 members in a UAE family due to COVID-19, pending investigation, in order to ensure the integrity of the investigation, National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) has announced on Tuesday.

The incident that was broadcast on Abu Dhabi Sports Channel is false and fabricated; the family does not exist and the story is completely fictitious made up by the first accused individual, NCEMA tweeted, quoting Public Prosecution.

The channel’s correspondent, who is the second accused, contradicted his professional duties and did not contact the relevant authorities to verify the accuracy of the information provided to him.

Office of the Public Prosecution said they immediately launched an investigation on the incident and is still conducting in-depth probe to determine the legal responsibility and the perpetrators and to determine the facts that are likely to be behind the incident.

“This incident has affected members of the Emirati community, citizens and residents, leaving them in a state of confusion and fear around the outbreak of the disease, all based on inaccurate information.

“We have not and will not be lenient with anyone who doesn’t follow their duty and is irresponsible, we will apply the law firmly and decisively, given that the recklessness in sharing inaccurate information has a negative effect on society”, office of the Public Prosecution stated.

“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, social media platforms have been flooded with rumors and inaccurate information, which has added another obstacle in the fight against the new pandemic. The national media has played an important role in correcting the course.”

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, it said.

Monitoring, following-up and coordinating with the authorities and the Emergency and Crisis Prosecution is an ongoing process and is carried out in less than 48 hours. Any inaccurate information is then corrected and communicated and the necessary measures will be taken, NCEMA tweeted quoting Public Prosecution.

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