Moroccan police have arrested at the least a dozen individuals for spreading rumors in regards to the coronavirus, together with a girl who used her YouTube channel to say the illness didn’t exist, authorities mentioned on Thursday.
“Faux information is the primary reason for panic amongst residents,” mentioned Prime Minister Saad Eddine El-Otmai, evaluating the unfold of misinformation with the contagion of the illness.
Different individuals have been arrested for opposing strict measures towards public gathering, urging individuals to disregard them, or saying a lockdown had been applied when it had not.
On the identical day, the federal government accredited a draft legislation governing the usage of social media, aiming to discourage faux information and cyber crimes undermining public order and the economic system.
Rights teams have criticised Morocco for what they see as an rising crackdown on free speech over the previous 12 months, together with jail phrases for individuals who have expressed dissent on social media.
The North African kingdom has confirmed 61 instances of the coronavirus and two deaths. A lot of the sick caught the virus overseas, but it surely has now additionally began to transmit inside Moroccan cities.
The federal government has closed all mosques, colleges, cafes and eating places, in addition to sports activities and leisure venues, and has banned all worldwide passenger flights.
The last arrest was of a 48-year-old lady on Wednesday who was taken into custody after denying the existence of the coronavirus on her YouTube channel and urging her compatriots to disregard precautionary measures.
One other girl, in an audio recording broadly shared on WhatsApp, mentioned the vacationer hub of Marrakech, certainly one of Morocco’s largest cities, was beneath lockdown and warned individuals to not go there.
A person often called “Abou Naim” was arrested for “instigating hatred” and “undermining public order” after he recorded a video on social media criticizing the authorities’ determination to shut all mosques.
Vehicles with loudspeakers have been deployed in Moroccan cities asking individuals to remain at house. Public transport, streets and market locations have been disinfected.
A authorities fund created to improve well being infrastructure and help essentially the most weak financial sectors has acquired greater than $1.5 billion in donations.
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