Man arrested for inciting ethnic hatred via online fake news

Authorities arrested Niks Endziņš, who has formerly been accused of spreading fake news, on February 2 for inciting national and ethnic hatred online, as well as for spreading fake news about the new Chinese coronavirus, according to the State Police on February 3.

The police press announcement didn’t mention a name, but revealed that on January 31 the State Police Central Criminal Police Authority Criminal Investigation Unit 1st Department authorities conducted a string of investigations regarding instances of inciting ethnic hatred over social media, and detained a man born in 1997. The man had uploaded a video on his social media that ignited a broad public response.

Social media monitoring was conducted along with colleagues from the Cybercrimes Unit, during which they came across the previously mentioned video. The man is accused of violating part two of section 78 of the Criminal Law. In the video it was claimed that Latvia had encountered its first patient infected by the coronavirus, and that it was necessary to “liquidate” a certain nation and its country.

Authorities determined the video publisher’s home address, where the found and detained the man. They also searched his residence and collected evidence. The man’s assertions about the coronavirus are still being evaluated.

The police reminded the public that it’s always necessary to assess information before publishing it on the internet, because there is the concept of legal responsibility for what is published.

It is not the first time that Endziņš has fallen foul of his appetite for passing off bad-taste fantasy as breaking news.

As previously  reported by LSM  , in 2018 State Police arrested him for spreading fake news that disrupted public peace and the operations of companies and institutions, the police told the press.

The police launched a criminal probe   after one of Endziņš’ websites – redzams.net – on July 15 2018 published a news story that the Alfa shopping center in Rīga had collapsed, with several hundred people dead and many injured. It was completely false.

The story, which quickly went viral, shamelessly played on the real-life 2013 supermarket collapse in Zolitūde neighborhood, Rīga. It was the greatest single loss of life in the country following renewal of independence, killing 54 people and seriously injuring many more.

LSM.LV

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