Gov’t finds 145 cases of fake news last month

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Eighty-three cases concerned insults against the King, the senior leadership and Buddhism. Photo supplied

The Fake News Monitoring Committee of the Ministry of Information found 145 cases of fake news, incitement, social pollution and insults against the Kingdom’s senior leadership on social media in September.

Ministry spokesman and Fake News Monitoring Committee permanent vice-chairman Phos Sovann told The Post on Wednesday that the cases were forwarded to the Ministry of Interior for further action and investigation.

“If a social media account user that has registered at the information ministry spreads false news, as the first step, we tell him or her to correct or withdraw that news. In some cases, we allow him or her to write a letter of apology.

“We sent more than 10 cases of social media account users who didn’t register to the interior ministry in order for it to check and probe,” he said.

Sovann said most of the media social account users who spread fake or false news were located outsides the country.

According to a committee report, from September 1-30, a working group identified sources spreading a total of 145 messages and videos with fake news, incitement, social pollution and insults against the country’s senior leadership.

The report said 22 cases concerned Cambodia-Vietnam border issues and the false travel pamphlets issued by an Australian travel company which advertised Angkor Wat as being in Vietnam.

Eighty-three cases concerned insults against the King, the senior leadership and Buddhism. Eighteen cases concerned social pollution, including misleading posts about gem discoveries in Mondulkiri province. One case concerned the TikTok short video-sharing app and 21 cases were related to incitement.

Nob Vy, the executive director of the Cambodian Journalists Alliance (CamboJa), said what the public worried about was the government’s method of cracking down on those who created fake news or socially polluting news.

Vy said the public are also worried about a crackdown on activists on social media, or any group who heeded social matters and expressed their views through social media.

“We demand that [the government] . . . consider freedom of expression or freedom to make constructive comments as a basis for national development rather than banning the use of social media to spread constructive ideas beneficial to social development,” he said.

Vy observed that there were some cases concerning activists who were persecuted after commenting on investigative matters on social media that negatively affected powerful people.