AS the World Health Organisation (WHO) battles coronavirus and information trick ing dow n on how to contain the disease in individual countries, every nation has set up strategies on how to avoid further spread and at the same time allow life to continue harmoniously.
This is the w ork of the government w ith its assigned ministry and professionals/ex perts and machineries to do so, not just anyone w ak - ing up and directing the public on w hat to do and w hat not to avoid.
Reinforcing this, the government has a spokesperson to inform and clarify any information to the public, not anyone else and this does not req uire compromise.
This is because informing and sharing information on any topic or issue must go w ith research and professional w ay of doing it, that is why the Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, has w arned the public against publishing, forw arding or creating fake new s and misinformation about the novel coronavirus in the country.
Of late there have been cases where some individuals and groups of people resort to the same social media to circulate unsubstantiated information, w hose motive at the end of the day is to slur and cause unnecessary fear in the society.
This is a criminal offence that is punishable in any country. It is good that the Premier has provided the government’s stance on this that from now on, those reports will be provided by the Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, and if necessary they will be provided by himself or by top government official(s) authorised to avoid confusion.
It is worth praise that the Premier has directed the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to mak e followups on those who fabricate news through social media, and those found guilty of indulging in such acts to be dealt with under the relevant provisions of the law .
“ Iam warning everyone against spreading baseless rumours and falsehood through mobile phones and social media platforms, w hich can create unnecessary panic and hardship to all around, they must all be monitored and measures tak en against them,” he cautioned.
This is because Tanzania can not be a country w here every Tom, Dick and Harry is advising the public on a delicate health issue they k now nothing about.
Those w ho usurp the government’s pow ers via the social media to share/spread unfounded and baseless information should know that such rumours (with no reliable source to back them up) have destructive consequences, which include creation of conflict, victimization, and demoralizing citiz ens, w ho should be going about their businesses freely.
Rumours if not check ed according to P sychologists can also lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, anxiety and a host of other issues
It can also alienate friends, ruin reputations, and even lead to ostracizing behaviour.