MOI has a proactive policy to counter rumors: Al-Turki
Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman of the Interior Ministry, has highlighted the ministry’s proactive policy to confront rumors targeting security agencies and activities.
“We deal with these rumors and allegations by speaking to the media and divulging the real facts,” he said referring to rumors on the number and treatment of prisoners in Saudi jails.
“In order to quash the rumors we have opened a window of communication and informed the public whatever they wanted to know about prisoners,” he explained.
Al-Turki was addressing a conference on public relations in Riyadh organized by BAE Systems in association with the International Public Relations Association.
“We have also instructed the public to visit the ministry’s website to know the facts and consider it as the dependable source of information,” Al-Turki said.
He said all security agencies have established their own websites to interact with the public. They have also opened own accounts on the social media to address rumors and disseminate facts.
“All these websites flood the public with information avoiding chances to spread rumors by the evil-minded people,” he explained.
Gen. Al-Turki urged the public to verify the veracity of reports on social media networks before believing in them.
“Fixing punishment for those who spread rumors does not come under the ministry’s jurisdiction. It’s the duty of lawmakers,” the spokesman said.
“The Law for Combating Cyber Crimes in the Kingdom is enough to deal with rumormongers. However, proper investigation is required to prove that it was intentional,” he said.
“People should understand that most of the information spread through the social media may not be correct. If is related to security agencies they have to visit their websites to ensure their accuracy,” Al-Turki said.
He said the popularity of social media has contributed to spreading rumors as people transfer information without verifying facts. “This requires change in the attitude of people and they should have the desire to fathom the truth,” he added.
Yousuf Al-Abdan, director general of King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, also addressed the conference. He said about 40 percent of passengers who arrive at airports are tense, making airports vulnerable to rumors.
“The Riyadh airport filed three lawsuits against the media for spreading rumors on the airport. We have won the first case while legal proceedings are continuing in other cases,” he said.
Al-Abdan spoke about the negative impact of rumors on organizations and individuals, adding that it would not serve public interest. “We have set out a strategy to deal with rumors.”