Taiwan to slap knowing dissemination of fake news with 3 days’ detention

Ministry of Interior considers amendments to fight the spread of fake news

Taiwan to take punitive measures against fake news.

Taiwan to take punitive measures against fake news. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Three days of detention could be the punishment for knowingly disseminating fake news, according to amendments prepared by the Ministry of Interior.

During the run-up to the November 24 local elections, candidates often complained of fake news being spread by their opponents or by China.

In a response to the problem, the Ministry of Interior approved proposals to amend the Social Order Protection Act, the Apple Daily reported Thursday.

Under the changes, a person found to be knowingly spreading false information which causes fear or panic could face a maximum detention of three days or a fine ranging from NT$30,000 (US$970) to NT$300,000. The proposed amendments have to be passed on to the full Cabinet for review and to the Legislative Yuan for final approval, according to the Apple Daily.

The ministry also plans to replace the term “rumors” from existing legislation because it is too vague, while a new definition should be given to “fake news” or “false information,” the report said.

Talks with other government departments such as the National Communications Commission and the intelligence agencies will continue on the subject, while the ministry also plans to study how other democracies deal with the problem.