Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations announced on Sunday the arrest of a 23-year-old accused of peddling coronavirus related fake news.
“Elijah Muthui Kitonyo aged 23 years has been arrested in Mwingi for publishing misleading and alarming information on Corona virus. He will be charged for publishing false information that is calculated or results in panic contrary to section 23 of the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act of 2018.
“We urge members of the public to be responsible and to desist from authoring, publishing or sharing unconfirmed information that may cause panic and anxiety,” they posted on Twitter.
Though his Twitter bio says he is an “aspiring blogger and influencer,” in a post published on March 13, the basis for his arrest, he claimed to be a staff of the national carrier, KQ, and belied a government account of a coronavirus patient, the country’s index case.
African governments have moved to charge nationals to desist from peddling false information which could create fear and panic and to further deteriorate actions aimed at controlling the spread of the pandemic. Kenya as of Sunday (March 15) had three confirmed cases.