Censorship to limit spread of misinformation on COVID-19

The Government has introduced an order to counter the spread of inaccurate and false information related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) during the two weeks State of Emergency (SOE).

Under this order, all media outlets must not public any article on COVID-19 unless it has received authorization of the National Disaster Management (NDMO) after consultation with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) said in a statement that the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) with the assistance of authorities concerned will be monitoring all social media channels, platforms and mediums and any individuals, groups or mediums found to be misinforming the public at large will be dealt by the full force of Vanuatu Laws.

The statement cited: “The government has noted that several Facebook groups, pages and individual accounts are publishing information, which is either not true and/or unreliable.

”It was further noted that some of this information has caused panic to members of our communities.

”As per the SOE order which specially covers all issues on censorship of information on COVID-19, the government will regulate and monitor all misleading information related to COVID-19.

”This will minimize the amount of misinformation, fake news and other related COVID-19 publications from unverified sources.

”Removing dishonest, misinformed publications and fake news will reduce the current scare and panic environment in Vanuatu.

”Any information and data about COVID-19 has to be authorized by NDMO, MoH and WHO. Citizens, residents and businesses in Vanuatu must not publish any information without the consent and approval of these authorities.”

Everyone are encouraged to call COVID-19 Information Centre on 119 and/or visit COVID website: (https: //covid19.gov.vu) to get all the updated information about COVID.

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