The Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications held the ASEAN regional forum on tackling disinformation on cyberspace in the central city of Da Nang on September 19, within the framework of the 16th Conference of ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI).
The forum discussed joint efforts by ASEAN countries to combat and address fake news and misinformation, made recommendations on measures to tackle the problem, and share good practice in regional countries and news agencies. It also aimed to promote cooperation in the ASEAN and between governments, localities of ASEAN member countries and social media platforms in the field.
Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Thanh Lam said since 2017, ASEAN has issued various statements and launched activities to raise public awareness of the harm of fake news. These include programmes, policy sharing workshops and campaigns to enhance digital literacy among the public, and foster mutual learning among electronic information management agencies.
He highlighted that at AMRI-14, the ministers approved a Framework and a Joint Statement on mitigating the impact of fake news, providing a common reference framework for ASEAN member countries to enhance cooperation, share information, and propose feasible solutions to combat the proliferation of fake news which negatively affect the interests of ASEAN citizens. In 2022, the 19th Meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials Responsible for Information (SOMRI) officially endorsed Vietnam's initiative to establish an ASEAN Special Task Force on Fake News.
However, these activities have primarily focused on sharing policies and experience among government agencies and have not yet extended to involve media organisations (in their role of providing credible information; detecting and correcting fake news) or research institutions and media outlets (in their role as independent research and fact-checking units).
Lam said the forum aims to create an open space for exchange among government agencies, the media, cross-border platforms, and relevant stakeholders. It underscores ASEAN's commitment to reducing the harm caused by fake news and promoting ASEAN's common effort to establish a healthy and trustworthy information space for its citizens.