Laos Forms Special Taskforce to Combat Fake News

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Laos sets up taskforce on fake news

Authorities have established a special taskforce to monitor and respond to illegal online media and fake news in Laos.

According to a notice issued by the Ministry of Public Security on Friday, a special taskforce has been set up to trace and respond to illegal online media in the country.

The newly formed taskforce seeks to tackle the illegal use of social media by both domestic and international groups, as well as clamping down on what the Party and government consider fake news.

Taskforce members include officials from the Mass Media Department, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, as well as public security and police divisions.

The committee is in charge of tracking fake news on social media, as well as tweets, shares, videos, and images that share or promote information that is false.

Several fake news stories and videos have been released on social media throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly on Facebook and TikTok.

Authorities have issued a warning to a man who posted a video on TikTok last week claiming a plane had crashed in Xieng Ngern District of Luang Prabang Province, according to a report on Lao National Radio.

A 23-year-old man, identified as Mr. Maisy, from Bolikhamsay Province was arrested but released with a warning.

The video uploaded by Mr. Maisy depicted the shape of an airplane in Google maps, and was likely the result of a satellite photo by the maps provider taken while the plane was in flight.

“I was aware that the video was a hoax, but I simply wanted to increase the number of likes and shares for my content,” Mr. Maisy told police in a confession.

Authorities urge all residents to follow and subscribe only to officially registered media, such as state news and registered private news outlets.