|Long also stressed that ASEAN needs to develop a regional guideline and shared platform for prompt information sharing while reviewing a number of fake news prevention measures conducted by bloc members. |
The measures included issuing related regulations, establishing agencies in charge of online news or anti-fake news centres, setting up hotlines, and using digital technologies to verify information.
He also mentioned the promotion of public-private partnerships between governments and social network providers to remove fake news and false information, especially those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He recommended that ASEAN countries increase the provision of information from official government channels and enhance the education of communications and information skills to help users distinguish and evaluate information.
The seminar entitled 'Fake News: Tackling Disinformation in ASEAN' was co-organised by the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC) and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), inviting speakers from Vietnam, the Philippines and the technology giant ByteDance – the owner of TikTok.
Fake news and misinformation are emerging challenges that the ASEAN Member States must address as access to the internet and digital media grows exponentially among ASEAN citizens. Data for January 2020 from We Are Social (2020) reports that the internet penetration rate in the region is 66%, which reflects a year-on-year growth of 8.2%. Social media usage is at 63%, a 7.7% increase from the previous year.
ASEAN is taking concrete steps to prevent fake news and misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that can potentially sow a climate of distrust. Since 2017, efforts to address fake news and misinformation have figured significantly in ASEAN’s activities.
In 2017, the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI) convened a Roundtable Discussion on Fake News and Communicating the Right Information, and have since adopted the Framework and Joint Declaration to Minimise the Harmful Effects of Fake News in 2018.
ASEAN also launched the Core Values on Digital Literacy for ASEAN which aims to promote greater cybersecurity as part of the efforts to counter online falsehoods./.