The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) on July 23 issued a document on intensifying the handling of fake news and untrue information about COVID-19 on the internet.
Under the Government’s resolution on COVID-19 prevention and control issued on July 20, the ministry has been tasked with instructing the communication work, providing information in a timely manner to help people understand the situation, stay calm, sympathise with and support anti-pandemic measures, and actively implementing pandemic prevention and control measures, thus contributing to consolidating and enhancing public trust in the Party and the State.
The MIC has noticed a rise in fake news and misinformation about the pandemic situation as well as the pandemic combat, which have undermined the great national unity bloc.
Misleading claims about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and untrue information distorting the Vietnamese Government’s vaccine distribution policy and the use of the COVID-19 vaccine fund have also been spread on the social media.
The spread of such harmful and ill-intentioned information has eroded public trust in the pandemic fight, causing public anxiety and concern, and hindering the country’s anti-pandemic efforts.
Therefore, the MIC requests ministries, ministry-level agencies, Government agencies, and People’s Committees of cities and provinces to seriously observe regulations on providing information for the press, ensuring that information must be provided as soon as possible in any circumstances.
In cases of unexpected incidents in ministries, agencies and localities, the press should be provided update information no later than two hours from the time the incident occurs, the ministry said.
When detecting fake news and misinformation, ministries, agencies and localities need to instruct police and other relevant forces to quickly check the information, track its source and handle people involved in the dissemination.
Municipal and provincial Departments of Information and Communications are required to strictly handle press agencies, information websites and social networks that publish and spread fake news and misinformation about the pandemic’s developments and anti-pandemic work in localities.
Forces involved in COVID-19 prevention and control must seriously follow regulations set by competent agencies and have appropriate behaviours towards the public./.