The Voice of America published an article on Monday detailing the events that happened on Sunday evening, when two reporters of Syri.net and Shekulli online published a fake news article announcing the alleged earthquake that would happen at 23:30, with devastating consequences, with information based on the expertise of Greek seismologist Akis Tselentis. The article caused great panic and mass hysteria among citizens who tried to flee their homes in the middle of the night, taking to the streets. The Albanian police escorted the reporters to the station for questioning, and are now under investigation, but not detained.
” The news of a powerful earthquake spread rapidly after 10 pm, while another 4.4-degree magnitude quake was recorded near Durres, 20 kilometers northwest of Tirana. The article published on “Syri.net had a headline which called for people to leave their homes and to run to safety. A number of Tirana’s main squares were crowded fast, within minutes the traffic was blocked, and a large part of the citizens chose to drive away from Tirana. The Ministry of Defense issued a statement urging citizens to not fall prey to malicious and widespread panic caused by fake news portals as there is not scientific prediction of earthquakes by any institution. All those who spread panic among citizens will be held criminally responsible. The Minister of Defense, Olta Xhacka was accompanied in her press conference by a seismology expert who accurately explained that earthquakes cannot be predicted”, writes VoA. The media also adds that PM Rama and Minister of Interior issued separate statements in order to urge citizens not to believe criminal fake news that have consequences for citizens. VoA article here. Tiranapost.al