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Saudi Arabia has issued a new stern warning against spreading false news and rumours, meting out tough custodial and financial penalties against offenders. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has issued a new stern warning against spreading false news and rumours, meting out tough custodial and financial penalties against offenders.

The kingdom’s public prosecution has said that spreading rumours and false news “misleading society and jeopardizing its health and societal security” is prohibited.

The prosecution pointed out that online production and circulation of rumours, which threaten public order, are punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of SR3 million and the publication of the court verdict in the media at the expense of the defendant, according to the Saudi anti-cyber crime law.

Electronic service

Moreover, devices used in the crime shall be confiscated, while the website, account and the place where the electronic service is provided shall be closed if the owner is found to have been in the know about the crime.

According to the Saudi anti-cyber crime law, the accomplice and inciter to the illegal acts face the penalties stipulated for the perpetrator, the prosecutors said.

The renewed warnings come as Saudi authorities have recently tightened restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.