UAE Court Jails Journalist Over Interview With Man Who Made Fake Claims About COVID-19 Deaths

A UAE court has jailed a journalist for two years after he interviewed a person on his show who claimed a local family of five had died of COVID-19 that turned out to be fake news.

The Abu Dhabi Court of Appeal in the city of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) rules that the two defendants were guilty of making up fake news and circulating misinformation.

It was not revealed whether the journalists knew the claim was fake when making the interview, or whether the programme was live.

In August, the unnamed sports presenter interviewed his co-defendant about five family members who died of COVID-19.

In response, the public prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into the broadcasted claims and discovered that they were fabricated.

Credit: Newsflash
Federal prosecutor Salem Al Zaabi.

Both suspects were detained after the false news story was circulated on social networks.

The country’s National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) said the circulated story was false in August and Abu Dhabi Media held its own internal probe.

The media company said they took disciplinary action against other staff members of the show, some of whom were suspended from work or given a written warning.

Subsequently, the interviewer and his TV guest were sentenced to two years in prison each for the fake COVID-19 story.