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Ministry tackles fake news, incitement, lese-majeste

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The ministry recorded 161 cases of fabricated news, disinformation and incitement, among others, in July. INFORMATION MINISTRY

Ministry tackles fake news, incitement, lese-majeste

The Ministry of Information’s Fake News Monitoring Committee recorded 161 cases of fabricated news, disinformation and incitement, among others, in July.

Of the total, 102 were slurs on the government, 49 for insulting the King and other government leaders, three for fake news, and seven for false information on social media.

There were 93 Facebook accounts disseminating false information, which it deemed provocative and insulting.

“To disseminate false information, offenders use social media with the vast majority using Facebook, YouTube and TikTok,” the report said.

The committee’s methods to solve the problem include educating, advising and warning journalists about ethical misconduct, suspending or revoking media licences, proceeding with legal action.

Phos Sovann, director-general of the ministry’s Information and Broadcasting and the committee’s permanent vice-director, told The Post on August 5 that the gathering and verification work was carried out by the social network working group and involved officials, committees and the public.

“Our team does not follow a particular style. We do not have any modern equipment, and we are based in groups throughout the country. They are called anti-misinformation groups. So, people supply us with information and we check and verify the source,” he said.

Established in March 2020, the committee is responsible for monitoring the dissemination of fake news by the media, responding to the public in a timely manner as well as blocking websites, accounts or web pages that spread false information.

Nop Vy, executive director of the Cambodian Journalists Alliance (CamboJA), told The Post on August 5 that he could not assess what the committee’s work is and how it assists in preventing the spread of false information.

“The main issue is transparency and the involvement of other parties in the committee. The committee’s members, as far as I know, seems to be only from the ministry itself. In the past, there have always been criticisms related to the monitoring or evaluation of media institutions that allegedly spread false information and whether all of those institutions were actually monitored or evaluated.”

Ro Kimlong

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