False Stories Spread on Social Media Heightening Community Tensions.

Local UUP MLA Roy Beggs has highlighted the inaccurateand provocative nature of an online media report on the ‘Belfast Daily’ Website, which is heightening community tensions. The news website falsely claimed that 200 Garda officers were being drafted in to bolster PSNI numbers in riot situations. http://www.belfastdaily.co.uk/2013/01/06/revealed-psni-hire-200-garda-officers-to-put-down-loyalist-rebellion/

The East Antrim MLA explained:
“My office and indeed other offices belonging to Ulster Unionist Party colleagues have been contacted by people very concerned at reports published online stating that the PSNI had drafted in the Garda riot squad, under what is a deliberately provocative headline. Completely unnamed ‘security sources’ are quoted as the basis of this ‘story’ which has been spread on social media.

My party colleague Ross Hussey who is a member of the Policing Board, has raised this issue with the PSNI and has been told emphatically that this report is completely false and has no basis in fact. I have contacted the Donegal based company behind the website concerned and asked that they remove and retract the false story, which is raising community tensions in a very reckless way.”

Mr Beggs added;
“The fact that the story has been spreading like wildfire on social media, confirms the danger of taking some online reports at face value. I would urge people not to believe everything they read on the internet, especially via social media.
There has been a lot of comment recently about press standards in the context of the Leveson Inquiry. However this incident shows the inherent dangers of the news sourced on the internet, where regulations do not routinely apply at all.”

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