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New Initiative Launched To Address Cyberbullies

Source: Vientiane Times

Lao authorities have established a new mechanism to address cyberbullying as increasing numbers of people are using social media as a tool to defame others online.

Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Dr Thansamay Kommasith last month signed a new ministerial regulation, authorising the Lao Computer Emergency Team (Lao CERT) to accept complaints from people defamed by other social media users.

Under the regulation, which is now accessible at the Lao Official Gazette website, anyone facing cyberbullying can directly lodge their complaints with the Lao CERT via email or telephone numbers: +856-21-254508, +856-30-576422 or the LaoCETT application.

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Apart from supplying evidence about being cyberbullied to the Lao CERT, the victims can also file a criminal charge against the accused social media posters at police stations so that authorities can investigate and prosecute the wrongdoers.

The launch of the new mechanism to address cyberbullying is in response to growing numbers of people using social media to discredit others. Authorities view this phenomenon as unjust, and therefore there must be a proper mechanism to address the problem.

According to a source at the telecom ministry, authorities have been working to enhance capacity in the sector to identify those posting comments or material designed to discredit others. Apart from these efforts, cell phone users are required to register their phone sim cards.

In addition to setting up a mechanism to accept complaints, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has advised social media users to be mindful about widespread fake news in cyberspace.

The ministry advised social media users to check the source of information and whether it is reliable and believable to avoid falling for fake news.

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Anonymous social media posters are more likely to supply fake news as they don’t have to take any responsibility for the consequences of their posts. In addition, these social media posters have no media ethics and are often prejudiced against anyone who disagrees with them.

The telecom ministry has advised social media users to give careful thought about sharing what they view with others to minimise the spread of fake news as some of the information may be false.

The Lao government has been active in addressing fake news. Apart from this, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism has urged individuals using social media to distribute news to register formally.

The government also imposed a prime ministerial order, which requires users to use their real name and address when registering their social media accounts.