Cabinet green-lights national network of ‘anti-fake news’ centres
The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a draft regulation for measures to further tighten monitoring of social media, saying it is aimed at fighting "fake news".
Under the PM’s Office regulation, a national centre for prevention, suppression and solving problems related to fake news will be set up by the Digital Economy and Society Ministry, said government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.
The national centre will coordinate with all ministries in launching their own misinformation-suppression centres, the spokesman added. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry will set up anti-fake news centres in all provinces, to be headed by either governors or deputy governors.
Officials at the centres must publicise any fake news on social media within an hour of discovering it and inform the Public Relations Department immediately. Centre officials will also be responsible for filing complaints with police to trigger legal action against those behind the fake news, the spokesman said. Meanwhile they will be able to inform the Digital Economy and Society Ministry so that misinformation can be removed from computer networks immediately.
“The PM’s Office draft regulation on prevention, suppression and solving problems of fake news dissemination on social media will be a framework for eliminating misinformation that affects the life and assets of the people and has a wide impact on society,” the spokesman said.
The new regulation would cover fake news that caused social rifts, incited public unrest and created social misunderstanding, he added.
The regulation will also combat misinformation that affects the country’s image, people’s rights, their safety and property, the economy, traditions and national institutions, added Thanakorn.
Monitoring and censorship of Thailand’s internet has tightened since the 2014 coup, triggering complaints that the government is waging a war against free speech.
Freedom House rates Thailand’s internet as “not free”, citing the arrest of hundreds of anti-government protesters.