Director of the HCMC Department of Information and Communications Lam Dinh Thang reported that since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, functional agencies have discovered and deleted six websites, 186 articles on social networks, nearly 600 YouTube and TikTok clips because they contain fake or imprecise news.
Since this April, this department has sanctioned 16 severe administrative violations, with the fine worth over VND132 million (approx. US$5,800). Recently, the owner of the Fanpage 'Giang Kim Cuc va cac cong su’ has been punished as they livestreamed the fake news of a grandmother withdrawing the breathing tube of her grandchild staying in an emergency unit of a hospital.
All districts of HCMC are always on the alert state to detect and handle fake news, especially those concerning Covid-19 matters.
Binh Tan District has discovered over 31 social network accounts sharing negative wrong information about the pandemic, social security matters, death cases because of a lack of medical care. These kinds of news normally attract a great number of views and interactions, creating havoc in the community.
Tan Phu District has also fined the owner of the account ‘Lan Nguyen Van’ as this person posted wrong news about an official in white protecting clothing carrying what is considered ashes of dead Covid-19 patients, leaving the cyber community in panic.
In order to timely and effectively handle fake news, many functional agencies like the Department of Cyber Security and Hi-tech Crime Prevention (under the Public Security Ministry), the Vietnam Anti-Fake News Center (under the Information and Communications Ministry), and local police forces, have been mobilized.
The Information and Communications Ministry has also released Official Dispatch No.2765 regarding the implementation of Resolution No.78 by the Government on addressing fake, imprecise news about Covid-19 on the cyber environment.
Along with the above tools and forces, the use of social opinion collection teams and the active propaganda of correct formal news to the public play their role as well. Updated news, particularly those related to policies and regulations, Covid-19 prevention and control tasks, must be regularly posted on official websites of functional agencies.
Illegal actions to purposely spread fake news must be promptly investigated and strictly punished to warn people from similar intentions. Meanwhile, citizens are advised not to share any news without checking its validity and reliability from formal websites.
Lawyer Dang Hoai Vu from HCMC Bar Association informed that depending on the content, nature, and danger level of posting fake news, violators might be accused of one of these crimes: creating, possessing, spreading news, material, items aiming at opposing the state; humiliating others; slandering; illegally passing or using information on computer networks or telecoms networks.
These offenders might be banned from their current position, practising certain professions, or doing certain jobs from 1 to 5 years.