IN the initial stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in Brunei Darussalam, misinformation – particularly of the variety spread through social media – had a significant impact on the prevailing anxiety and fear surrounding the outbreak.
Panic set in and people rushed to shops to buy groceries in bulk, including hand sanitisers and wet tissues, in anticipation of a lockdown to contain the deadly virus.
The Health Minister has reiterated that circulating fake news is an offence under the Public Order Act, Chapter 148, Section 34, which states that anyone who spreads false reports orally or in writing or by any other means, that are likely to cause public alarm or result in public disorder, is guilty of an offence punishable by a prison term of three years or a fine of up to B$3,000 (RM9,200). — Borneo Bulletin/ANN
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