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Hi-Tech Monitoring System on Fake News in Place

April 17, 2020

Department of Communications

A hi-tech monitoring and evaluation process has been put in place to assess complaints and reports on fake news items from the media, the public and other sectors of society.

The system also has the ability to take down fake news items on a range of platforms and submit cases to the SAPS for investigation and prosecution.

According to the communications department, government has “ramped up its capacity to monitor and respond to misinformation and fake news during this period of Covid-19 national pandemic and beyond”.

The process is a unique collaboration between the department, the Government Communication & Information System, Media Monitoring Africa and the CovidComms volunteer communication network.

As soon as fake news items or social media posts are identified, platform owners are notified to bring down the posts.

“Electronic Communications Services Licensees, including over-the-top media service providers and internet service providers that are in the service of providing linear and non-linear services, will then have the responsibility to remove fake news from their platforms with immediate effect.”

The acting minister of communications, Jackson Mthembu, confirmed that “spreading fake news or disinformation about Covid-19 is a punishable offence”.