Morocco makes dozen arrests over coronavirus fake news

A worker disinfects a main avenue outside the parliament building in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus, on the day Moroccan authorities called on citizens to limit their movements, in Rabat, Morocco, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 19 March 2020

Morocco makes dozen arrests over coronavirus fake news

  • “Fake news is the first cause of panic among citizens,” said Prime Minister Saad Eddine El-Otmai
  • Other people were arrested for attacking the government over its strict measures against public gathering

RABAT: Moroccan police have arrested at least a dozen people for spreading rumors about the coronavirus, authorities said on Thursday, including a woman who used her YouTube channel to say the disease did not exist.
“Fake news is the first cause of panic among citizens,” said Prime Minister Saad Eddine El-Otmai, comparing the spread of misinformation with contagion of the disease.
Other people were arrested for attacking the government over its strict measures against public gathering, urging people to ignore them, or saying a lockdown had been implemented when it had not.
Rights groups have criticized Morocco for what they see as an increasing crackdown on free speech over the past year, including prison terms for people who have spoken against senior officials on Twitter.
The North African kingdom has confirmed 61 cases of the coronavirus and two deaths. Most of the sick caught the virus abroad, but it has now also started to transmit within Moroccan cities.
The government has closed all mosques, schools, cafes and restaurants, as well as sports and entertainment venues, and has banned all international passenger flights.
The most recent arrest was of a 48-year-old woman who was taken into custody on Wednesday after denying the existence of the coronavirus on her YouTube channel and urging her compatriots to ignore precautionary measures.
Another woman, in an audio recording widely spread on Whatsapp, said the tourist hub of Marrakech, one of Morocco’s biggest cities, was under lockdown and warned people not to go there.
A man known as “Abou Naim” was arrested for “instigating hatred” and “undermining public order” after he recorded a video on social media criticizing the authorities decision to close all mosques.
Cars with loudspeakers have been deployed in different Moroccan cities asking people to stay at home. Public transport, streets and market places have been disinfected.
A government fund that was created to upgrade health infrastructure and assist the most vulnerable economic sectors has garnered more than $1.5 billion in donations.


Meet the Saudi man who Trump’s COVID-19 Twitter blunder accidently made famous

Updated 30 March 2020

Meet the Saudi man who Trump’s COVID-19 Twitter blunder accidently made famous

  • Donald Trump was meant to tag the Food and Drug Association

RIYADH: It’s not every day that you’re mentioned by the most powerful man in the world, but MLK, better known as @FdA found himself the star of the show when he was tagged on twitter by the leader of the free world President Donald Trump.

A mix-up in Twitter handles found him mentioned on the platform by @realDONALDTRUMP, when President Trump retweeted an article about a research institute that developed technology which “can clean up to 80,000 pieces of PPE (personal protective equipment) for use.” The author of the article says in her tweet that it is a “huge breakthrough in the fight against the #coronavirus.”

The comment on the retweet read: Highly recommended by Governor @MikeDeWine of Ohio. @FDA must move quickly!

Considered an honest mistake, While the actual food and drug administration handle is @US_FDA.

MLK aka @FdA has his location set to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. On twitter, MLK does not follow anyone nor does he have any tweets posted. However, his follower numbers are another story with a cool 16.6 thousand.