Morocco has taken strict measures against fake news and hate speech that threaten the safety of citizens amid the novel coronavirus crisis.
The suspect, who works as a salesman for a private company, had posted fake news on social media regarding the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Morocco.
In the post, the suspect claimed that thousands of Moroccans have been infected with the virus in several cities, a statement from the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) has said.
The suspect falsely accused a Moroccan Jewish citizen and a foreign national of Arab origin to be “directly responsible for the infection of a large number of people,” the statement added.
Technical expertise enabled police to identify the man, who is now in custody for further investigation.
The arrest aligns with Morocco’s efforts to crack down on fake news in the light of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.
Moroccan police have arrested dozens of suspects for their involvement in spreading fake news and inciting hatred or criminal acts, undermining Moroccan citizens’ safety amid the pandemic.
One of the latest arrests came on March 30, when police arrested a 46 year old woman for posting a video in which she shared abusive remarks against the Moroccan community living abroad, known as MREs.
In the video, the woman incites hatred towards the Moroccan diaspora due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic at the international level, a statement from the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) said.
On March 19, Morocco enacted Law 22-20, related to the use of social media and open broadcast networks. The law criminalizes the deliberate sharing of fake news and posts inciting criminal activity.
Morocco has confirmed 638 COVID-19 cases as of 8 a.m. on April 1.