False information in the digital era spreads quickly through mobile applications such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and it can instil fear and anxiety in people, said Acting Director of Information Siti Bismi Nuruliman binti Haji Emzah.
She said this during a personal contact programme for Kampong Batang Tuau, Kampong Puni and Kamong Ujung Jalan, Mukim Bangar at the Kampong Puni Community Hall, Temburong District yesterday.
“What is more worrying is that false and slanderous information is accepted without referencing to authentic sources, which in turn becomes viral to the extent that it can affect the harmony of the community and security of the country.
“Legal action can be taken under Section 34 Chapter 148 of the Public Order Act, that is, 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.
“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 or she 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 programme aims to deliver information on current issues and government policies, and receive feedback on government agencies. A dialogue session on the issues of roads, water supply, electricity disruptions, and monthly assistance was also held between officials from the Public Works Department, Department of Agriculture and Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) and villagers.