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Fake news about coronavirus should be prevented: Minister

The Minister of Information and Communications wants those working underneath him to be more proactive to rid the internet of fake news about coronavirus.

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A man from Dak Nong Province’s Gia Nghia City with police. He has been fined VND10 milion (US$432) for posting false information about coronavirus on his Facebook page. — VNA/VNS Photo

Nguyen Manh Hung has requested units under his leadership to be work with foreign social media platforms like Facebook and Google to remove clips and false information about novel coronavirus (nCoV).

In recently-issued directive on the implementation of nCoV prevention, Hung asked press agencies and broadcasters to collaborate with the Ministry of Health in directing the content of information on the disease.

They were also required to carry out special programmes including online discussions to update the latest news on the disease to local residents.

Dissemination on prevention and control of the epidemic was identified as an important task, contributing to protect people’s health and lives and minimise the damage caused, he said.
The minister said false information should be prevented and violators should be strictly dealt with so that people will not create anxiety for the public.

The connection between hospitals, health facilities relating to the quarantine and treatment of the infection cases should be facilitated.

The minister also directed telecom businesses to waive fees for all calls to the hotline 19009095 to answer questions about acute respiratory infections caused by coronavirus until April 30 this year.

Postal businesses were asked to suspend the delivery of such medical equipment overseas like face masks and antiseptic solution and medical gloves as Vietnam is already facing a shortage.

The minister called on the Vietnamese technology community to exercise their responsibility to solve social problems, especially in disease prevention.

Combating fake news

Several Facebook users across Vietnam have been penalised for spreading fake news about coronavirus.

Police in Dak Nong Province on Monday said they have fined two individuals VND10 milion (US$432) for posting false information on nCoV. They are both living in Gia Nghia City.

One posted “Gia Nghia City reports a case of suspected coronavirus infection which is now being quarantined” on January 31.

Another posted on her Facebook page that a case of coronavirus infection being quarantined at Dak Nong Hospital.

After being summoned by the police, they admitted that the news posted by them was false.

On Sunday, Bac Ninh Province Police fined Nguyen Cong Hoang and Vu Quynh Mai, two local residents, for falsely announcing an infection case at Bac Ninh General Hospital on their Facebook page and sharing the post on community groups. The post had been shared more than 600 times before it was removed.

Earlier on Saturday, an owner of Facebook account Tran Thi Thu Thuy was given a VND12.5 million fine for posting fabricated news about a person dying of coronavirus in Lang Son Province’s Cao Loc District on January 29.

Hundreds of netizens had shared her post, raising fear among local residents.

Police in Hano’s Thach That District on Sunday said they have summoned Nguyen Quy Trong, 30, who lives in Quoc Oai Town for spreading fake news on his Facebook page. — VNS

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