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Draft bill with harsh penalty against fake news passes review

2019/03/14 12:53:13

image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, March 14 (CNA) Taiwan's Legislature passed a preliminary review Wednesday of an amendment aimed at imposing harsh penalties for spreading fake information of disasters.

The proposed draft bill to amend the Disaster Prevention and Protection Act passed an initial review by the Internal Administration Committee of the Legislative Yuan.

The bill stipulates that anyone who is aware of false information but still reports it to the fire department or police will be subject to fines ranging from NT$300,000 (US$9,704) to NT$500,000.

Anyone who spreads rumors or false messages about disasters and as a result causes harm to the public, is subject to imprisonment of up to three years, or a fine of up to NT$1 million.

Those indicted for causing the death of people by the spreading of false disaster information will be punished with imprisonment from seven years to life, while the penalty in such cases that see people seriously injured stands at up to 10 years in jail, according to the draft bill.

Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) told reporters before the bill was reviewed at the Legislature that the amendment was proposed to prevent the efficiency of disaster response actions from being jeopardized and to protect the safety of firefighting personnel.

The bill needs to undergo cross-party negotiation before it can be submitted to the plenary session of the Legislative Yuan for approval.

To fight false information and fake news, the Cabinet passed seven amendment bills last year involving the Disaster Prevention and Protection Act, the Food Administration Act, and the Law on the Control of Communicable Diseases. They all have been listed as top priorities at the Legislative Yuan.

(By Chen Chun-hua and Emerson Lim)