APPEAL AGAINST ARREST FOR FAKE NEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

HRA AGAINST REPRESSION DUE TO VIOLATION OF REPUTATION OF STATE SYMBOLS
12/03/2020
GATHERING AT THE SUPREME COURT AGAINST THE ORDER OF THE HEALTH MINISTER
17/03/2020

APPEAL AGAINST ARREST FOR FAKE NEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

(Source: The Irish Times)

Human Rights Action (HRA) appeals that people should not be sent to prison for inaccurate posts on Facebook, which do not call for violence nor constitute hate speech, as that is excessive restriction of freedom of expression contrary to international human rights standards. Fear of imprisonment prevents people from communicating, receiving and sharing information and ideas and creates an atmosphere of a police state.

The state should provide accurate information with daily press conferences of competent authorities, rather than arresting citizens for what they write on their personal profiles on social networks. Every public official may easily secure the attention of the broadest public, unlike an anonymous citizen.

The state should not impose confidence with arrests and criminal penalties, but with open access to informationfrom its officials and regular publication of detailed information. The arrests due to inaccurate personal posts on coronavirus pandemic were applied only by Asian countries (China, Iran, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Pakistan), known for their systematic human rights violations.

On March 12, the Basic State Prosecutor’s Office in Podgorica ordered a 72 hours detention of Milivoje Brković, who had written on Facebook an incorrect information that 13 people in Montenegro already have coronavirus.