Those spreading false information can be charged under Section 34, Chapter 148 of the Public Order Act, which carries a penalty of imprisonment and a fine if found guilty, according to the Acting Deputy Director of Information Sastra Sarini binti Haji Julaini.
Sastra Sarini warned against the dissemination of false news, reports and statements during a briefing as part of Information Department under the Prime Minister’s Office’s Personal Contact Programme in Pekan Belait held at the District Emergency Operation Centre (DEOC), Belait District Office, Kuala Belait.
Those found to have disseminated false reports in writing, verbally or through any other channels, or making false statements that can cause public disorder, can be imprisoned for three years and fined BND3,000, she said.
“In this digital era, false news can go viral and spread quickly via various social media platform including WeChat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, causing panic and chaos.
“More worrying is the fact that some accept the false news without checking proper sources to verify the information. Thus, it could affect social harmony and safety,” she added The acting deputy director said anyone who does or attempts to, or makes preparation to do or conspires with any person to do or utter any words with a seditious intention; prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication; as well as imports any seditious publication, unless he has no reason to believe that it is seditious, can be imprisoned for two years and fined BND5,000 if found guilty as stated under Section 4(1), Chapter 24 of the Sedition Act.
The Personal Contact Programme is part of the Information Department’s initiatives to deliver information on current issues, government policies as well as to receive feedback on concerns or actions needed by government agencies.