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New laws to handle fake news online

Minister of the Public Security To Lam speaks to Voice of Vietnam about a complete new set of laws designed to handle fake news on the internet.

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Minister of the Public Security To Lam.

What achievements has the Ministry of Public Security made to handle fake news on the internet?

The Ministry of Public Security has focused its efforts on handling thousands of cases of fraudulent and fake news on the internet. To do this we have co-operated with media agencies, both Vietnamese and foreign networks, to take down fake news and impose serious fines for those responsible. For serious cases, they have been handled criminally. And more recently, the Government has issued a decree to allow administrative sanctions on any agency which releases fake news or stories to the public. However, these measures are still not strong enough to stop the problem.

Should we apply stronger measures, including higher fines for anyone who releases fake news?

Right now we are discussing the best measures to handle fake news. For example, if the content of an advertisement does not really reflect the true properties of a product, authorities can levy a fine for that advertisement, but that fine is not heavy enough to deter the advertiser from doing the same thing in the future due to amount of revenue they can make from the advertisement.

In my opinion, the fines must be heavy enough to deter people from repeating the same thing in the future. I hope the Government will advise the National Assembly to adjust the law to make it strong enough to deter people from such unlawful acts.

Will the Ministry of Public Security adopt any special measures to handle wrongful acts affecting the reputation and honour of Party and Government leaders during the upcoming 13th National Party Congress?

The first thing we have to do is to complete our legal system - a strong legal foundation for us to handle any wrongful acts. At the same time, we should publicise harmful news in the media to help all media workers and the general public to distinguish between what's true and what's not. This will be the foundation for us to encourage the general public to join the fight against anyone who abuses the internet to spread fake news or encourages people to violate Vietnamese laws.

The second thing we have to do is launch a communications campaign to raise people’s awareness about harmful information.

And finally, we at the Ministry of Public Security will work together with the Ministry of Information and Communications and concerned Vietnamese and foreign service providers to remove any piece of information which runs against Vietnamese laws or traditional culture.

We’ll continue to take action to fight all activities that break Vietnamese laws.  VNS

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