TAIPEI, TAIWAN – A surge in fake news around Southeast Asia, particularly bogus COVID-19 information, has prompted leaders to explore a regional crackdown after a suggestion from a Vietnamese security official.
Nguyen pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for the spread of fake news as well as other crimes, according to Asian media reports.
In one case from an ASEAN member state, Philippine police arrested a woman in April after she said part of one province had 9,000 coronavirus cases when there were just over 6,200 infections nationwide.
Still, he said, the government of President Rodrigo Duterte will be tempted to use any new enforcement mechanism against critics.
But if leaders of the Southeast Asian bloc follow up Vietnam’s idea, they might develop a list of uniform guidelines for all member countries to follow, he said.