Thailand launches 'Media Watch' app to combat fake news

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has launched a new smartphone app called ‘Media Watch’.

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has launched a new smartphone app called ‘Media Watch’ to allow the public to report any fake news or complaints about misleading information they come across on the Internet.

According to the Bangkok Post, the reports go straight to the deputy secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Panpimol Wipulakorn, who said the app will go a long way in protecting the younger generation from false information.

The developer of the app, Wasant Paileeklee, manager of the Fund for Development of Safe and Creative Media for Mental Health said the fund will work together with the Family Network Foundation to uncover information that is potentially false, so legal action against the culprits can be pursued if necessary.

He added that the application will maximise input from voluntary contributors in monitoring the media and integrate with the government to ensure justice for any wrongdoing.

The fight against fake news has intensified in Asia in recent times, as earlier this year, Singapore’s Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said that new laws to regulate the country’s online space and tackle the spread of fake news are expected to be introduced in 2018.

Meanwhile, Indonesian police found alleged links between a ‘fake news factory’ and some Indonesians believed to have played roles in protests against former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who was accused of and later charged with blasphemy against Islam.

The police found a citizen named Jasriadi, who pocketed about 10m rupiah of the 75m rupiah and used the rest of the money for setting up an online site, and hiring so called ‘journalists’.

The 'journalists' then wrote up articles with content directed by clients and posted them on media platforms such as the Facebook group pages of Saracen news, Saracen Cyber Team, saracennews.com site, and various other groups.

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