Kenyan man arrested for publishing fake news on coronavirus
London, March 16, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Police in Kenya have arrested a 23-year-old man for publishing false information on the spread of coronavirus.
Elijah Muthui Kitonyo was arrested in Mwingi town in eastern Kenya for claiming that the government gave misleading details on the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the country.
The tweet on a fake account, which was widely circulated on social media over the weekend, claimed that the patient had originated from Rome in Italy and not the United States through London as stated by the government.
Elijah Muthui Kitonyo aged 23 years has been arrested in Mwingi for publishing misleading and alarming information on Corona virus.— DCI KENYA (@DCI_Kenya) March 15, 2020
He will be charged for publishing false information that is calculated or results in panic contrary to section 23 of the Computer Misuse…
The arrest was confirmed by directorate of criminal investigations in a tweet:
He will be charged with publishing false information that can cause panic.
Violating Kenya’s cybercrimes law could attract a fine of $50,000 (£40,000) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday warned citizens against publishing and sharing misinformation on coronavirus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging tech companies to take tougher action to battle fake news on the coronavirus.
The push comes as a representative from the WHO travelled to Silicon Valley to speak directly to tech firms about the spread of false information.
The WHO has labelled the spread of fake news on the outbreak an “infodemic”.
Andrew Pattison, digital business solutions manager, for the WHO said false information was “spreading faster than the virus”.
Bogus claims that the virus was spread by eating bat soup or could be cured by garlic have already swept the web.