A court sentenced a man to two months in prison for falsely claiming two people died in northern Morocco due to the novel coronavirus.
Rabat – Morocco’s Public Prosecution Office is calling for tightened measures against fake news relating to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The prosecutor’s office said in a press release on Tuesday, March 17, that it gave firm instructions to courts across the country to take legal action against anyone who spreads fake news about the coronavirus.
The office warned that fake news creates panic among citizens and undermines public order.
The press release added that it filed public complaints against several individuals allegedly responsible for spreading false information about COVID-19.
The statement comes as a number of videos of people wearing surgical masks pretending to faint in the street have gone viral on social media.
The General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) and the Moroccan government have been warning people to take action in the face of fake news and rumors.
Police have already arrested several people for spreading rumors about the virus.
The latest arrest was on March 12 when the DGSN in the town of Souk El Arbaa, 130 kilometers north of Rabat, arrested a pedlar for spreading false rumors about COVID-19.
The seller used a loudspeaker to create panic, claiming there are cases of the virus in the town and urging parents to stop sending their children to school.
Earlier this month, a Moroccan court sentenced a man to two months in prison for claiming that two people died of the virus in Tetouan, northern Morocco. The man will also pay a fine of MAD 2,000 ($207).