| Rokiah Mahmud |
STATISTICS released by the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) indicate a high Internet messaging and social media platform usage among residents in Brunei.
Based on the study, a total of 97.3 per cent use the WhatsApp instant messaging service, 91.7 per cent use Facebook and 87.4 per cent use Instagram.
Due to this high penetration rate for online messaging platforms, AITI has raised its guard on the dissemination of fake news and information, stressing that wanton spread of such disinformation could cause unnecessary alarm, panic and fear among the public, especially if the problem is not handled properly.
Spreading false information or making false statements that may interfere with the public’s peace is a punishable offence under Section 34, Chapter 148 of the Public Order Act. The offence carries a penalty of three years’ imprisonment and a fine of BND3,000.
In addition, under Chapter 24 of the Sedition Act Section 4(1), anyone who attempts to carry out a seditious act will face a penalty of two years’ imprisonment and a fine of BND5,000.
Thus, the Information Department of the Prime Minister’s Office, as part of its initiative to provide a platform for the community to gain a better understanding on government policies on this issue and to improve communication between the government and members of the public, resumed the running of its ‘Personal Contact’ programme.
Yesterday, the programme was facilitated by a delegation from the Information Department at the residence of Legislative Council member and Penghulu of Mukim Bokok who is also the Acting Village Head of Kampong Kenua, Temburong Yang Berhormat Haji Emran bin Haji Sabtu.
Leading the Information Department group was the department’s Acting Director Mawardi bin Haji Mohammad and staff from the department’s headquarters and Temburong District branch.
As part of the programme, the Information Department introduced its ‘InfoDeptBN’ application, which can be downloaded through the Google Play Store for Android users and the App Store for iOS systems.
The app gives users access to updates and news from the department. Its features include the Pelita Brunei e-paper, selected department publications, job vacancy postings, prayer times and several other useful functions.