Hanoi police on April 7 said they would launch criminal investigations into people who post Covid-19 fake news and the offenders could be sent to jail for up to seven years, VnExpress reported.
The municipal police said many people have made use of the complicated evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic to spread fake news on social media to earn interactions. This has sowed confusion among people and made it more difficult for epidemic prevention.
Police have imposed a lot of administrative fines on disseminators of Covid-19 fake news. Photo: BN
Therefore, Hanoi police will enhance the crackdown to tighten control over the spread of fake news under the guidance of the Supreme Court on the application of the Penal Code on the prosecution of offenses committed in the pandemic period.
Specifically, anyone posting fraudulent information on the Covid-19 pandemic that which causes negative response from the public will be investigated for "illegally posting or using information on computer networks and telecommunication networks," an offense that carries a maximum prison term of seven years, in accordance with Article 288 of the Criminal Code 2015.
Anyone spreading personal and private information without consent or insulting the dignity and honor of health workers on the frontline of the Covid-19 epidemic fight, as well as of patients and people suspected of infection, will be investigated for defamation and face a jail term of up to five years, in accordance with Article 155 of the Penal Code 2015.
Hanoi authorities have called on citizens to be more discerning about the information they receive, and follow official sources to update themselves on the disease situation in Vietnam. Especially, people should not share unverified information which could affect the fight agaubst the pandemic.
Since Covid-19 broke out in Vietnam, police in Hanoi have handled more than 70 cases of fake news. No one has faced criminal charges so far. All of them have been fined VND10-15 million (US$427- 641) under Decree 174/2013 on administrative violations of post and telecommunications, information technology and radio frequency regulations.
As of April 8, Vietnam has recorded 251 cases of Covid-19, 122 of them have been cured and discharged from hospital.