Dominican anti-drug agency warns media to beware fake press releases

The Dominican Republic's anti-drug agency warned the media that a group of impostors had been sending fake press releases supposedly signed by the National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD in Spanish), reported the newspaper Hoy on Monday, Jan. 21.

The agency became aware of the fake press releases when several reporters called to confirm the veracity of a document questioning the allocation of state resources to build schools, according to the DNCD.

The first instance took place last June, when two media organizations published false information supposedly signed by the DNCD about the search and seizure of dollars and medical prescriptions, according to Nuevo Diario. In that occasion, DNCD spokesman Roberto Lebrón explained that the false information was used to extort the family of the owner of several pharmacies, according to Panorama Diario.

The website Dominicanos Hoy, one of the organizations that published false information last June, apologized to the pharmacy owners affected and said that the press release originated in two emails using the acronym of the organization and the name of the spokesman.

The anti-drug agency clarified that Roberto Lebrón is the only person authorized to confirm information and make statements on behalf of the DNCD.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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