(Photo from PIA)

Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bolstered their support to the newly-created ASEAN task force on fake news to prevent the spread of online falsehood and strengthen national capacity to detect and respond to fake news amongst the ASEAN Member States.

At the first meeting of the task force in Hanoi on October 11, member-countries presented their respective policies and experiences in dealing with fake news. Delegates likewise exchanged best practices, challenges and solutions in addressing disinformation online.

The meeting was part of Vietnam’s International Digital Week 2022 hosted by the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications.

It was Vietnam which initiated the creation of the task force which seeks to reduce the harmful effects of fake news in the ASEAN region following a series of meetings by the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting Responsible for Information (SOMRI) and the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI) in 2019 and 2021 respectively.

At the Hanoi meeting, Vietnam presided over the development of a framework for fake news prevention plan before turning over the discussions to Cambodia which was designated as meeting chair alongside Indonesia as vice chair.

The group also reviewed the objectives and activities of the task force that will guide member states in responding and minimizing the negative effects of fake news.

Among the task force objectives are to cooperate in responding to online falsehood in a timely manner; develop and propose measures for ASEAN in order to create a trustworthy and reliable Internet environment for ASEAN citizens; and provide capacity building for member-states in dealing with fake news and disinformation.

Key activities of the task force include developing a set of guidelines for reactions amongst member states regarding reporting, tackling, and providing verification to fake news and related online falsehoods; create a platform to empower cross-border fact checking activities in form of exchange in information, cross-promoting trusted platforms to each member state.

The members also agreed to develop a common set of definition of terms for social media and online issues such as cyber bullying, fake news, disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech.

They will also share best practices in dealing with falsehoods on social media and the Internet which include legal framework, technical assistance, public education, public communications, cooperation and coordination among member states. (Cristina Arzadon/PIA PMD)