The Ministry of Information's fake news tracking committee said on October 1 that it had followed the contents of nearly 500 news and video broadcasts which have information deemed to be inciting, insulting to the country’s leaders and misleading to the public.

It said it had noted 493 cases of fake contents in the third quarter, an increase of 31 per cent compared to the second quarter of this year.

“The increase is not because of new sources creating fake contents, but the same sources have increased the number of fake contents,” it said.

The committee said it had stymied such fake news by publishing and disseminating facts after verifying them. It had identified 30 sources that spread these contents and referred them to Inter-ministerial authorities for further action.

“The committee has noted five media outlets that have registered with the information ministry but published unethical and unprofessional news. They had published news without clear sources, affecting the dignity of other people,” it said.

The ministry, it said, will act against unprofessional media and journalists by first reprimanding them and will take further action if they continue to publish news unprofessionally that affect national interests and the government's prestige.

For media that spread fake news and disinformation, the ministry will revoke their licence.

“The ministry can sue journalists for violating the law such as inciting to cause violence and social chaos that affect national security, social order, the economy and ties with other countries,” the committee said.