WATCH | Potential prosecution for spreading fake news about xenophobia: SA government

09 September 2019 - 11:19
By Unathi Nkanjeni

The SA government has issued a strict warning regarding the spreading of misleading information about recent xenophobia attacks, saying fake news about the protests could see social media users prosecuted.

This after President Cyril Ramaphosa warned against old and misleading videos doing the rounds on social media.

Ramaphosa said the misinformation was sowing further conflict and called on people to stop fuelling a climate of fear and confusion.

“We must act responsibly and stop disseminating fake videos, photographs and messages, especially on social media, with an intention of negatively portraying our country and its people,” he said.

In an aim to get a grip on the xenophobia crisis, the government warned that creation or distribution of false videos, pictures or messages could “open users up to prosecution”.

“Government urges vigilance about social media messages that contain alleged warnings of planned violence against foreign nationals. Creation and distribution of such messages potentially open social media users to prosecution, as fake messaging intends to instil panic and cause disorder.

“Recycling old video material on social media, as well as ‘war talk’ by certain individuals, only seeks to fuel tensions between South Africans and other Africans. The police will continue their work to restore order and government urges all law-abiding citizens to work alongside SAPS to isolate these criminals,” said the government.

It urged members of the public to report information about illegal activities to law-enforcement agencies.