Fake News Is Economic Sabotage Says Acting Prime Minister Koroilavesau

Koroilavesau slams propagators for causing fear and panic on Monday by claiming there would be unrest
26 Sep 2019 11:42
Fake News Is Economic Sabotage Says Acting Prime Minister Koroilavesau
Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau donates during the Pinktober morning tea at Jack’s of Fiji & Lazy Beans Cafe in Suva on September 25, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar. Reports on pages 4 and 6

Acting Prime Minister Semi Koroilavesau has lambasted propagators of fake news who caused fear and panic on Monday.

Mr Koroilavesau labelled it as economic sabotage.

The overseas-generated fake news stopped some people from going out, reporting to work and sending children to school.

Mr Koroilavesau said it was a sad day as people showed a tendency to believe fake news rather than rely on assurances from the security forces given via trusted news sources.

He said the gullibility of the public to believe fake news was showcased on Monday, September 23. Businesses stayed closed in the morning and there was less than 50 per cent attendance in schools.

“I consider this an economic sabotage because it affected the whole country. The people who initiated this should realise that this affected the economy, the school children and the future of our nation,” he said.

“They are living in the comfort of their homes overseas and they cause despair for the people living in Fiji. The repercussions are quite huge.

“We should not believe social media. People should only rely on news from the authorities through reliable media sources.”

A Savenaca Dauvunau of Australia has been identified as being one of the sources of the fake news. It is not clear whether that is his real or fake name.

He has suffered serious backlash on social media.

Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete endorsed Mr Koroilavesau’s statement. He called the perpetrators “enemies of Fiji.”

“Anyone who spreads fake news or anyone who initiates fake news with the idea to stop our children from having exams, to stop our people from going to the hospital, to try to play on the minds of our workers, our women, are enemies of Fiji,” he said.

“They do not have this country at heart. We have to realise that there are people who are not helpful to our growth and we as a nation must condemn this; we must realise what fake news can do.”

He said there was similar fake news earlier in the year that Kadavu had been sold to the Chinese.

He said while health services were normal on Monday, staff were affected by the panic created by the fake news. Some did not send their children to school.

Dr Waqainabete suggested that such people should not be allowed into the country.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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