Repercussions of spreading fake news in Qatar

  • 4 weeks   ago
Repercussions of spreading fake news in Qatar
The law in the state of Qatar as it protects the nation from the outer threat elements, it also protects the nation from the threats within the nation, which may harm the nation and the country due to naivety or ignorance, and sometimes due to bad intensions. As we saw in the start of the outbreak of COVID-19 in Qatar, there were suddenly a significant spike in the spread of the rumors across all the social media platforms in Qatar, which lead the state to make the people aware of this threat and educate them, as well as, to amend the relevant laws to set penalties to stop the threat from growing before it actually damages someone, as it was already inciting panic in the public.
Therefore, The Ministry of Interior (MoI) in Doha, has issued a warning to strictly refrain from spreading rumors or fake news on social media. A tweet from the MoI said: “Involvement in spreading or circulating rumors is a serious offence and may expose you to legal accountability. The competent authorities will summon those who publish and circulate rumors and all legal measures will be taken against them”. MoI requests people to obtain the information from authentic sources, not to indulge in rumors, and to be cautious against rumors circulated on social media, and to only care about information announced on original sources or official channels. 
The MoI has announced the amendment introduced as a new article under the “Crimes against Internal State Security” section of the penal code and published alongside other amendments in the official gazette on January 19, 2020. Under this law, an imprisonment of up to 5 years can be imposed, if found guilty of spreading rumors or false news with ill-intent. 
The article 136 (bis) sets criminal penalties for “whoever broadcasts or publishes or republishes rumors or statements or false or malicious news or sensational propaganda, inside or outside the state, whenever it is intended to harm national interests or incite public opinion or disturb the social or public order of the state.” The article says that violators “shall be punished with a maximum of five years in prison and 100,000 Qatari Riyals, or one of the two penalties.” The penalty is doubled if the crime is committed in wartime.