Government cautions against fake news

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Government has condemned the posting of fake information attributed to political principals.

These posts, acting Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Director-General, Phumla Williams said, are intentionally false, misleads readers and deters the country’s efforts to effectively address challenges experienced by South Africans.

“In recent posts, online satire is used on issues such as the selling of matric certificates and rhino poaching, amongst others. Faux news such as these is detrimental to those involved and the rest of consumers.

“Government cautions the public to guard against these websites and interrogate the content they receive, as it has the potential to create negative and uncalled for effects,” the GCIS said.

Williams said government has always respected the right to freedom of expression and that of the press. 

“However, this right must be used responsibly and without infringing on the rights of citizens, which include Ministers and Deputy Ministers. 

“Political principals are representatives of government and associating them with fake commentary and quotes has an impact on the brand of South Africa.  The media is central in creating an informed and participatory citizenry and together with bona fide media houses, we must stamp out fake news.”

Williams said an informed public is crucial to “any operating democracy”, and that incorrect information is especially damaging when it appears to be authentic.

“We are cautioning people to refrain from spreading fake news, as government policies are misrepresented on these fake websites.” –