The prosecutor of Mytilini launched a preliminary investigation into the question of violation of Article 187 of the Penal Code for spreading false news. The investigation concerns rumors about an imminent earthquake, ‘following seismologists’ statements on television stations in recent days’, Greek media report. The statements were made after a powerful tremor 6.3 -or 6.1 R according to some seismological institutes – rattled the island of Lesvos.
On Wednesday, Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Christos Spirtzis requested the intervention of the Prosecutor of Greece’s Supreme Court in order to limit rumors that harm the local society.
A reporter of state broadcaster ERT TV said yesterday that the rumors were claiming that a big earthquake up up to 7 magnitude on Richter scale would hit the island in the afternoon.
People on the south of the island reportedly spent hours outdoors out of fear.
The Municipality of Lesvos issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying that “the relevant ministry, the Geodynamics Institute of Athens and the General Secretariat of Civil Protection were categorically denying an upcoming earthquake in the next hours.”
The Municipality urged residents to “not adopt irresponsible rumors” and asked them to contact local authorities or relevant bodies.
Local media Lesvosnews.net wrote that some residents confused rumors and experts’ opinions and that some residents had observed drawback of waters in Plomari. “This led locals to believe that big earthquake would occur.”
Commenting on the prosecutor’s investigation, Chairman of Earthquake Planning and Protection, Efthimios Lekkas told Real FM, that such rumors are normal on the third day of a powerful earthquake, not only in Greece but world-wide.
He urged people to not believe in rumors, to follow official announcement sand to avoid dangerous points.
He pointed out that it was normal that an “aftershock of 5.5 -5.6 R occurs” after a big earthquake and stressed that Lesvos has no history of double or triple earthquakes.
As everybody knows, an earthquake is an earthquake, an aftershock is an aftershock and it is a normal phenomenon after an earthquake. And a rumor is a rumor.
I suppose it will be difficult to find the local man, woman, grandpa, granny, child, cat or stray dog who first combined the seismologists’ statements with the sea level inside the Plomari port.
I do not know whether any serious seismologist would ‘forecast’ a big earthquake.
On the other hand, all Greek media television broadcasters, newspapers and websites were citing a Turkish seismologist who wasted his 15 seconds of fame claiming that a ‘big earthquake was imminent’, and urged residents in the west coast of Turkey to ‘stay in their summer houses for 2-3 weeks or in tents if they had no summer house.’
I heard a ‘rumor’ that the rumors were spread across the social media. :p
A well-known political analyst asked on state broadcaster ERT Thursday afternoon, whether the Minister would come after a panel of analysts not making optimistic estimations about the outcome of the Euroroup.
PS Investigating rumors is waste of time and resources, if you ask me.