Freedom of speech is a basic right of citizens prescribed in the Constitution 2013. Freedom of speech must be exercised within the framework of the law. It must not infringe the legitimate rights and interests of other individuals and legal entities, social morality, public order, and the nation’s interests. The strong development of the internet and social networks has contributed to the implementation of freedom of speech, but it also creates many problems coming from the abuse of freedom of speech to create fake news. Within the scope of this article, the author will mention how to deal with the problem of fake news on social networks.
1. What is fake news?
Essentially, fake news is information that is not true or fabricated, which distorts and provokes violence; inappropriate content on ethical standards, laws, culture, customs, and traditions is posted on social networks to orient public opinion.
From a legal perspective, according to the provisions of Clause 1, Article 5 of Decree No. 72/2013/ND-CP, fake news is information spread for the purpose of:
- Opposing the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; threatening the national security, and social safety; sabotaging the national fraternity; propagating wars and terrorism; evoking animosity and conflicts between peoples, races, and religions.
- Propagating and inciting violence, obscenity, pornography, crimes, social problems, superstition; contradicting national traditions;
- Revealing state secrets, military, economic, diplomacy secrets, and other secrets defined by the State;
- Providing false information, slandering or damaging the reputation of organizations or dignity of individuals;
- Advertising, propagating, trading in banned goods or services; spreading banned works of news, literature, art or other banned publications;
- Impersonating other organizations and individuals to spread false information, which violates the lawful rights and interests of other organizations and individuals.
2. Handling fake news on social networks
Currently, Vietnamese law has regulations on penalties to handle the release of bad information on social networks, specifically:
A fine of up to VND 20.000.000 shall be imposed on the commission of providing fake or false information with the aim of distorting, slandering, or damaging the reputation of organizations, authorities, or the honor and dignity of individuals as prescribed in Point a, Clause 1, Article 101 of Decree No. 15/2020/ND-CP.
The dissemination of fake information for the purpose of earning an illegal profit, damaging or causing negative public opinion that reduces the reputation of other agencies, individuals, or organizations may be subject to criminal prosecution for the crime of releasing or use of information on computer networks or telecommunications networks as prescribed in Article 288 of the Criminal Code 2015.
In addition, posting bad information on social networks for the purpose of seriously offending the honor and dignity of others, damaging their legitimate rights and interests may be subject to criminal prosecution for the crime of slander as prescribed in Article 156 of the Criminal Code 2015 and individuals affected by such bad information can request for compensation from the person releasing fake information.
Thus, when encountering fake news spread on social networks affecting the legitimate rights and interests, individuals affected by fake news can protect themselves in the following ways:
- Report the articles, and social media accounts containing bad information;
Submit a denunciation letter on the breaches to the competent police agency to request processing.
Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice. Apolat Legal is a Vietnamese law firm with experience and capacity to advise on matters related to Legal Retainer. Please click here to learn more about our services and contact our lawyers in Vietnam for advice via email email@example.com.