The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will fine people up to 20,000 dirhams ($5,500) if they share medical information about the coronavirus that contradicts official statements.
Its government, which issued the decision, made the health ministry and other state health institutions responsible for distributing “true” health information and guidelines to the nation.
“It is forbidden for any individual to publish, re-publish or circulate medical information or guidance which is false, misleading or which hasn’t been announced officially … using print, audiovisual or social media, or online websites or any other way of publication or circulation,” state-run news agency WAM reported on Saturday, citing the government directive.
The move, announced on Saturday, appears to be aimed at containing the spread of misinformation and rumours related to the COVID-19 outbreak that has killed 37 people in the Gulf Arab state and infected more than 6,300.
The text of the government decision refers only to “individuals”, without specifying whether journalists and media professionals are included.