Spreaders of fake news on animal disease to face hefty fine

12/03/2019 04:04 PM
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Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) An amended law that imposes a hefty fine on those who intentionally spread false information about animal diseases that causes harm to the public or individuals cleared the legislative floor Tuesday.

Anyone who violates the new amendment to the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease will be fined between NT$50,000 and NT$1 million (US$32,789).

If the violator continues with their actions, fines can be issued again for each subsequent violation, the bill says.

Article 43 of the statute previously stipulated fines of between NT$50,000 and NT$1 million for the "dissemination of rumors about infectious animal diseases or false information about epidemics," but did not have the clause about causing harm to others.

Feng Hai-tung (馮海東), director-general of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ), said the amended law was also drawn to target e-commerce platforms.

The amendments include a new clause that will forbid e-commerce operators from posting online ads about non-quarantined imported products from advertisers and sellers on their websites, with those caught subject to fines of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000.

Feng said this will effectively shut a loophole, as the current statute does not stipulate regulations that prevent such items from being posted online without receiving prior quarantine.

The new amendments passed by the Legislature on Tuesday still have to be promulgated by the Presidential Office prior to being implemented, a usually routine process that in this case should happen before the end of the year.

(By Liu Kuan-ting, Yang Shu-min and Ko Lin)

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