Vietnam specifies cash fines on fake news

By Hoang Nguyen   April 15, 2020 | 07:01 pm PT
Vietnam specifies cash fines on fake news
A man uses a smartphone as he walks past a poster warning against spreading 'fake news' on the coronavirus in Hanoi, Vietnam, April 14, 2020. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
The Vietnamese government has decided to slap fines on people who put up false, slanderous or lurid content online.

A new decree, effective from April 15, imposes a fine of VND10-20 million ($426-$853) for taking advantage of social networks to provide fake information, slander or insult agencies and organizations, lower the honor or dignity of individuals; promote superstition, obscenity or depravity that is incompatible with the nation's traditions and customs; providing and sharing information describing the act of killing and horror, graphic images.

The new decree is used to replace the old one from 2013 that didn’t specifically cover the fake news aspect.

Acts of providing, sharing fabricated information, causing confusion among the people, inciting violence, crimes, social evils and gambling; providing, sharing literary, artistic and publishing works without the consent of the author or not yet permitted for circulation will also be fined VND10-20 million.

The fine level also applies to acts of using social networks to advertise, propagate and share information on prohibited products and services; providing and sharing images of Vietnam maps but failing to show the proper national sovereignty in the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea.

The act of revealing secrets of the government or individuals at the level not deemed damaging enough for criminal charges will be fined VND30 million.

The new decree comes as many people have made use of the complicated development of the Covid-19 pandemic to spread false information on social media to generate likes, views and shares.

Ever since the Covid-19 broke out in Vietnam, police in Hanoi have handled more than 70 cases of spreading fake news. Other localities have reported hundreds of such cases, too.

Many have been fined VND10-15 million ($426- 641).

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