President Nicos Anastasiades stepped in on Wednesday in attempt to effectively put an end to the “fake news” stirring up “unfounded” concerns among the public over the coronavirus crisis being taken advantage of for the quiet installation of 5G network infrastructure.
Condemning the creation and dissemination of 5G-related fake news, Anastasiades said that no company has been granted license to install 5G networks on the island.
The Republic of Cyprus has authorized pilot programmes for 5G networks, but officials reportedly said on Tuesday that no licences were given after those tests.
Referring to a an incident last week that highlighted the real dangers of the spreading of false information, where a group of people in Limassol’s Agios Antonios torched a Cyta cell phone antenna after mistakenly identifying it as a 5G cell tower, the President said the “criminal act” resulted in depriving those living in the area, including vulnerable people, of communications services, effectively disrupting and endangering their lives.
Police have launched investigations into some 18 people who were linked with the Limassol arson incident that took place on Saturday night.
The suspects – seven in Nicosia, eight in Limassol, and three in Paphos - were tracked down by the police cybercrime unit, which found that they had uploaded posts on social media provoking or inciting the public to carry out similar criminal offences.
Anastasiades said that the only works taking place involve the maintenance and upgrading of existing networks in order to ensure that they cope with the increased usage during the coronavirus lockdown.
The President finally stressed that the final decision on whether 5G networks will be fully rolled out on the island will depend on scientific opinion, EU directives, and WHO recommendations.
Cyprus is no stranger to conspiracy theories and health concerns over 5G that are voiced around the world, as well as theories on the technology’s role in causing or fortifying the Covid-19 virus.
Addressing the growing panic over the new generation of wireless communication technologies, the WHO issued a statement stressing that “viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks.COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.”