A GROUP of women vendors in Labasa were yesterday told to refrain from gossiping because it was against the law.
Organised by the community policing officers in the north, the short discussion was aimed at bringing women together to inform them about the new Crimes Decree associated with women issues.
In her formal address, police constable Mere Mocetoka told the women that anyone was liable to spend one year in prison if found gossiping or making bad remarks about another person.
"Every day, new faces visit the market and women are fond of sitting together in groups to make gestures and gossip about them," Constable Mocetoka said.
"It's an attitude we have grown up with but it is something the law recognises as illegal. Gossiping is a contributing factor to fights and hatred among one another, which is something very common in women," she said.
Constable Mocetoka said they decided to organise the brief discussion because they received complaints of gossiping from women last week.
"We have been receiving complaints since last week and the best way to solve this problem is by telling them (women) the penalties they are likely to face when they are charged.
"Nowadays, an old woman can be sent to prison if she is found gossiping.
"The law won't entertain such unsuitable behaviour," she said.
The women thanked the force for informing them about the new Crimes Decree, something they were not aware of.