Sun, Jun 10, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Lawmaker seeks detention for spreading fake news

By Tseng Wei-chen  /  Staff Reporter, with CNA

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉) yesterday said he has proposed amending the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法) to allow for detentions of up to three days for people who spread fabricated news on the Internet.

The act stipulates that people who spread rumors that cause social instability may be fined up to NT$30,000 or be detained for up to three days.

Chiu said he proposed to add a condition so that people would face the same punishments for “failing to double-check the contents of their posts and spreading fake news, fake information or rumors via the Internet.”

Fake news aims to mislead the public with incorrect information for political or economic gain, Chiu said.

Through the Internet, fake news can reach people faster than the truth, so the extent to which fake news could cause harm should not be underestimated, he said.

DPP caucus secretary-general Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) said he agrees that the act needs to be amended to better curb the spread of fake news.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus deputy secretary-general Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) said that while he agrees that fake news needs to be stopped, the law needs to implemented carefully so that people’s freedom of expression is not infringed upon.

More discussion is needed, as Chiu’s proposal also touches on restricting an individual’s movements, he added.

New Power Party caucus convener Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) expressed concern that it would harm Taiwan’s democratic image if the government encroaches upon people’s freedom of expression when implementing the proposed changes.

People First Party caucus whip Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) suggested that the National Communications Commission tackle the issue by conducting an across-the-board assessment.

The Cabinet respects lawmakers’ rights to propose legislation, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.

One example of local fake news appeared on May 23 on Professional Technology Temple, the largest electronic bulletin board in Taiwan, claiming that the Honduran minister of foreign affairs was visiting Beijing.

The post was uploaded from a computer with an internet protocol address registered in China.

Honduran Ambassador to Taiwan Rafael Sierra Quesada rejected the claims the same day and said that the Honduran minister was still in his home country.

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