Fake news about coronavirus should be prevented: Minister

February 04, 2020 - 10:09

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


A man from Đắk Nông Province’s Gia Nghĩa City with police. He has been fined VNĐ10 milion (US$432) for posting false information about coronavirus on his Facebook page. — VNA/VNS Photo

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

Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng 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, Hùng 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 Việt Nam 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 Việt Nam have been penalised for spreading fake news about coronavirus.

Police in Đắk Nông Province on Monday said they have fined two individuals VNĐ10 milion (US$432) for posting false information on nCoV. They are both living in Gia Nghĩa City.

One posted “Gia Nghĩa 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 Đắk Nông Hospital.

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

On Sunday, Bắc Ninh Province Police fined Nguyễn Công Hoàng and Vũ Quỳnh Mai, two local residents, for falsely announcing an infection case at Bắc 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 Trần Thị Thu Thủy was given a VNĐ12.5 million fine for posting fabricated news about a person dying of coronavirus in Lạng Sơn Province’s Cao Lộc District on January 29.

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

Police in Hà Nội’s Thạch Thất District on Sunday said they have summoned Nguyễn Quý Trọng, 30, who lives in Quốc Oai Town for spreading fake news on his Facebook page. — VNS