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Officials respond to false reports about Vietnamese leaders ahead of National Party Congress

Wednesday, January 13, 2016, 10:24 GMT+7

Vietnamese officials have given their opinions on multiple articles posted on blogs and social media sites that slander several Vietnamese leaders ahead of the National Party Congress, due to take place later this month.

The Vietnamese government has received letters of complaint and some that denounce several of the country’s leaders shortly before the National Party Congress, Le Doan Hop, former Minister of Information and Communications, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper in an interview published on Monday.

The National Party Congress is scheduled to take place in Hanoi from January 20 to 28.

It usually takes a few months to verify the issues and reach a conclusion on whether the accusations are correct, Hop said.

Since the letters have been submitted close to the congress, the investigation would have to be postponed until after the grand event, with punishment to be imposed upon individuals responsible if the reports are proved to be true, according to the official.

The official conclusion can then be posted to the government’s website and news portal as well as in reputable newspapers to provide the public with transparency, he said, adding that it is common for state leaders to be involved in such rumors.

The information can be classified into three categories, true, not true and half true, the former minister said, saying that the relevant individuals should learn from the feedback but firmly reject fabrications to protect their own reputation.

There are four ways to effectively manage the reports posted on social media sites and the Internet in general, according to the former minister.

“Firstly, specific laws should be promulgated to protect good citizens and deter bad ones. Secondly, there should be improvements to the current policies to support good people. Thirdly, measures should be taken to raise people’s awareness of the difference between what is the truth and what are false rumors. And finally, we should fight against and reject lies,” he said.

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Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Untrue information ahead of Party Congress

It has become common practice for oppositional factions to flood the community with false statements with the aim of defaming public figures in periods before, during and after significant political events, namely the National Party Congress, said Truong Minh Tuan, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications.

Several of Vietnam’s top officials who are candidates for important positions of the next tenure have been accused of manipulation to win major votes, corruption and other offenses on several blogs and media sites.

Competent agencies under the Ministry of Information and Communications and the Ministry of Public Security have been cooperating in an attempt to identify any suspects that distort and fabricate such information and thereby penalize them according to the law, Deputy Minister Tuan said.

The act of taking advantage of the Internet and social networks to slander or humiliate others is not accepted legally and morally in any country, he asserted.

Protecting Internet users from the influence of distorted information requires appropriate agencies to provide the correct information in a timely manner as well as to be collective in uploading the news on the Internet, Nguyen Tien Quynh, deputy director of NetPro, an IT academy, suggested.

He also advised people not to share any piece of information that has not been verified.

An expert in communication management supported Nguyen’s opinion in saying that members of the public should only rely on information from official websites and newspapers.

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