Fake news related to coronavirus must be avoided at any cost Credit: Representational image

Kohima: Following the circulation of fake news/rumours regarding confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) which created panic among the citizens, Nagaland Police informed that it has traced the “originator” and has summoned over 30 persons to the cyber crime office for forwarding unverified messages.

Taking to Twitter, Nagaland Police wrote: “Nagaland Police traces the originator of the fake news/rumours regarding coronavirus case detection in Nagaland”. An attachment along with the tweet said that there were two mediums to spread the fake news in social media — by text message and by video — and that during the course of investigation, many people had forwarded the said news through many social media platforms/groups without verifying its authenticity.

“As of now, more than 30 people who forwarded the fake news were summoned to Cyber Crime Police Station and their statements recorded,” it said. It added that the fake news had originated through text message on WhatsApp by Lumchano Kithan, daughter of Yisao Kithan from Old Changsu village under Wokha district, who is presently residing at PWD Colony in Dimapur.

“She had composed the text message and sent the same to her friends which eventually went viral. Further, a minor person had created the video of coronavirus case detection in Nagaland after seeing the above stated fake news on WhatsApp,” the statement said.

The statement further read: “It is being noticed that many unscrupulous elements are posting/forwarding fake news/rumors. This has caused panic/alarm to the public.”

Warning that spreading of fake news/rumors is a criminal offense, the Nagaland Police further appealed to all individuals/institutions/organisations to avoid using print media/electronic media/social media for dissemination of any information regarding COVID-19 without ascertaining the facts and to rely on official press release or statements from the department of health & family welfare.

Following a wide circulation of viral social media messages, chief secretary Temjen Toy directed an immediate action against culprits spreading rumours around a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.

A notification issued by Toy on March 16 read: “At a time when every agency of the government of Nagaland along with associate NGOs are taking all measures to prevent as well as prepare the state in its combat against the spread of COVID-19, it is most unfortunate that some unscrupulous persons are spreading rumours and creating panic through the use of social media regarding infections confirmed in the state.”

“All steps be taken to ensure that such persons are immediately booked and action taken as per appropriate sections of law. Necessary clearances be taken for identification of such elements,” it added.

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