05 : 57 PM - 19/11/2012
Manama, Nov. 19 (BNA)-- A government minister has moved to reassure the public - describing reports of an imminent terrorist attack in Bahrain as baseless.
Minister of State for Information Affairs Sameera Rajab told the GDN there was no truth to the rumours and accused those behind them of seeking to spread fear in the community.
"They (those behind the rumours) are trying to create panic and chaos by spreading these rumours on social media websites," said Ms Rajab.
The rumours have appeared in Arabic and English on sites such as Twitter and Facebook - and are now being circulated by e-mail and text message by worried members of the public.
"I would like the media to be careful in dealing with such speculative reports as they are not true," she said.
"If anyone wants authentic information or news they should follow the Interior Ministry's Twitter account (@moi_bahrain)."
Meanwhile, she hoped a new law that punished those who misused social media would be passed soon.
It would allow authorities to clamp down on anyone who spreads sectarianism, hatred or seeks to polarise the community online. The law is being brought in as a result of people spreading false news during last year's unrest.
"There is a law that has been drafted and submitted to lawmakers," said Ms Rajab.
"Once it is implemented it will deal with cyber crime and misuse of social media by some people."
Meanwhile, an independent investigation into last year's unrest by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) concluded that social media had been used to spread misinformation.
"The Commission found numerous examples of exaggeration and misinformation - some highly inflammatory - that were disseminated through social media," the BICI report stated.
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Last updated : 05 : 57 PM - 19/11/2012