Spreading rumors online as a punishable offence : Here’s the gist

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Rumors spread. With the internet and through social media channels, we come across many news items, gist and gossips. Sometimes the source and credibility of the news may be questionable. Enticing headlines may dissuade us, conversely internet media houses in search of traffic may go extra lengths. Now to the matter of spreading rumors online.


Reports from Wall Street Journal says that Chinese government has punished almost 200 people for spreading rumors online, concerning major happenings in the country. The events include a recent stock market plunge and some deadly explosions in a city called Tianjin.

Word for the Chinese Ministry of Public Security says that the people:

“misled society and the public, generated and spread fearful sentiment, and even used the opportunity to maliciously concoct rumors to attack [Communist] Party and national leaders.”

Now unto the Nigerian perspective. With what we have seen on our online space, and the kind of stories we have seen blogs here publish, do you think “spreading rumors” online should be a punishable offence?


  1. Depending on the nature of the rumour, it could be punishable (whether onlone or offline)

    Isn’t “defamation of character”, a punishable offense, also part of spreading negative information that could tafnish an image?

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