Tehran’s Cyber Police have arrested five people for allegedly disseminating fake news on social media about the flash floods on March 26 in southern and western regions of the country, which left dozens dead and 200 injured, the Young Journalist Club (YJC) reported citing Davoud Moazemi Goudarzi, deputy commander of Tehran’s Cyber Police.
“We have identified five social media managers who have created a climate of fear among the public by posting fake footage and photographs and spreading inaccurate information on the recent flood in the country,” Commander Goudarzi said. “The arrests resulted from a long and thorough investigation of social media activities on Telegram channels.”
Goudarzi added: “We will prosecute these five individuals to the fullest extent of the law. Tehran’s Cyber Police will continue its investigation of people who misuse social media to disseminate false reports and disinformation.”
Deputy Attorney-General Javad Javidniya asked Tehran’s Cyber Police to arrest those who had published and distributed the “fake information,” describing them as “accomplices to the crime.” Mr. Javidniya said the public should get its information from the National Disaster Management Organization (NDMO) and reliable news sources.
Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli has lambasted social media users who have criticized the government’s handling of the flood-stricken regions. Mr. Fazli has also called on the Judiciary to “prosecute those who have exaggerated the damaged caused by the flood and have exploited people’s pain and sufferings to further their political aims.”
The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) TV and radio did not initially report on the floods in the northern provinces of Golestan and Mazandaran.
[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]