Vietnam takes actions to curb coronavirus fake news infodemic

The Ministry of Public Security has taken actions to put an end to fake online news as the nation’s battle against Covid-19 reaches new heights.
An individual perpetrator being fined for spreading fake news
An individual perpetrator being fined for spreading fake news

In recent weeks, misleading information on the coronavirus situation in Vietnam was being spread on social media, both by a number of negligent netizens and hostile forces, said Colonel Nguyen Thanh Loi from the ministry’s A05 unit, the Department of Cyber Security and Hi-tech Crime Prevention.

Negligent citizens have been sharing articles that inflate the virus situation and imply that the Gov’t is withholding information, which poses potential threats to social order, said the leader of A05.

What’s more, there are hostile forces that were spreading fake news through social media and online reactionary groups in attempts to misinform the general public and shoot down authorities.

Most notably, a social post emerged on March 26 saying Ho Chi Minh City would impose entry and exit bans from March 28. Shortly thereafter, the HCMC People’s Committee quickly disputed the info over multiple channels.

In response to these events, the Ministry of Public Security has been monitoring the situation closely along with relevant agencies to promptly verify misleading sources.

The Ministry so far has called in more than 800 violators, 200 of whom received administrative fines for spreading false information.

200 distributors of medical equipment were also fined due to goods hoarding and price gouging.

In addition, the A05 cooperated with service providers of Facebook and Google to remove hundreds of harmful website links relating to the epidemic in Vietnam, and warn people against sharing info from unverified sources.

According to Vietnam’s Criminal Code, people who make false statements of malicious nature can receive from three months to seven years in prison, said a lawyer from HCMC Bar Association.

Colonel Loi stressed the significance of informing citizens and taking preventive measures in the fight against the epidemic in Vietnam.

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