Fri, Mar 15, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Penalties for fake disaster reports pass initial review

Staff writer, with CNA

The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed a preliminary review of an amendment to clamp down on people spreading false information about disasters.

The proposal to amend the Disaster Prevention and Protection Act (災害防救法) passed an initial Internal Administration Committee review.

The proposal stipulates that anyone who is aware that information is false, but still reports it to fire or police services would face a fine of NT$300,000 to NT$500,000 (US$9,708 to US$16,181).

Anyone who spreads rumors or false reports about disasters and as a result causes harm to the public would face up to three years in prison or a fine of up to NT$1 million.

Those convicted of causing death by spreading false reports could be imprisoned for seven years to life, while the penalty would be up to 10 years in jail if someone is seriously injured, the draft bill says.

Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) told reporters before the bill was reviewed that the new rules would help prevent fake news reports that jeopardize the efficiency of disaster responses, and the safety of firefighters and rescuers.

The bill has been submitted for cross-caucus negotiation before it can be submitted to a plenary session of the Legislative Yuan for approval.

The Cabinet last year passed seven amendments to counter false information, involving changes to the Disaster Prevention and Protection Act, the Food Administration Act (糧食管理法) and the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法).

The bills have been listed as top priorities at the Legislative Yuan.

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