The increasingly complicated problem of distorted and false information requires journalists to constantly improve their awareness and professional qualifications to truly be the vanguard force in the information front.
Articles fighting and refuting distorted and opposing information of hostile forces have frequently been published in the Hai Duong Newspaper's Protecting the Party's Ideological Foundation column since its appearance at the beginning of 2021
In recent years, the situation of reactionaries, malcontents, and political opportunists taking advantage of sensitive and complicated issues and events to post false articles in cyberspace, causing political instability, has tended to increase.
In 2020 alone, functional forces in Hai Duong province jointly detected more than 120 social network accounts and posts with distorted and provoking contents opposing the Party and State and slandering Party and State leaders, handled administrative violations and required removal of posts in 43 cases.
Typically, taking advantage of conflicts and complaints in An Phuong commune, Thanh Ha district, related to the operation of a clean water plant in the locality, some people posted biased articles and complaints on social networking sites.
Many subjects even continuously livestreamed, wrote and shared poems and rhymes with groups on Facebook to induce people to oppose the authorities.
The inciting information made a lot of people go to extremes. The incident caused insecurity and disorder in the locality for months, and six people were sentenced to 129 months in prison for disturbing public order.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the posting and spreading of false information have also increased.
Along with false information related to the epidemic situation, there were contents that distorted and denied the efforts and results of epidemic prevention and control of Hai Duong province.
"There are many infected cases at hospitals in Ha Noi," "The funny thing is that despite the 4.0 era, there are people who still believe that Vietnam can cure Covid-19" are only two out of a lot of distorted information related to Covid-19 handled by the provincial police.
"Not only seriously affecting the honor of organizations and individuals and causing political insecurity and social disorder, false information on social networking sites has also resulted in great damage to property," said Lieutenant Colonel Pham Huu Mang, Deputy Head of the provincial Police’s Department of Cybersecurity and Hi-tech Crime Prevention.
"In recent years, the money fraudulently appropriated from people in the province through social networking sites has amounted to thousands of billions of dong.
"Therefore, prevention, especially the role of legitimate press agencies in taking the lead and occupying the communication environment on the internet, is very important."
In the face of the above situation, press agencies in the province have taken many measures to proactively prevent and fight distorted and false information, especially on the internet.
Together with traditional journalistic forms, the Hai Duong Newspaper and the provincial Radio - Television Station attach special importance to information on online platforms and social networking sites like Facebook, Zalo, YouTube, etc. to approach numerous readers and viewers.
There frequently are news and articles fighting and refuting distorted and opposing information in the Hai Duong Newspaper's columns From Readers' Information and Protecting the Party's Ideological Foundation and the provincial Radio - Television Station's programs Party in Life, View of the Interior, Television Mailbox, etc.
Press agencies also launch peak propaganda phases when there are major national and provincial events. In 2020, newspaper and magazine agencies in the province published more than 100 articles and reportages propagandizing, fighting, and refuting distorted and false information.
Journalist Dinh Manh Tu, Head of the Vietnam News Agency's resident agency in Hai Duong, assessed that press agencies of the province had shown and affirmed their very important role of correcting and cleaning the information flow on social networks.
However, to meet current information requirements, press agencies and each journalist need further and stronger changes.
The reality indicates that press agencies' attraction of readers and viewers on the internet is still limited. This can be clearly seen when comparing the numbers of followers, likes, and shares of legitimate press agencies' Facebook pages with those lacking a governing body.
To fulfill the role of directing public opinion, press agencies should promote investment, change, and improve the effectiveness of information on the internet.
According to Deputy Head of the provincial Party Committee's Education and Popularization Board Nguyen Manh Thang, to fight false, bad, and malicious information, early prevention from afar is very important.
Journalists should really stick close to life to proactively provide official information to guide public opinion and warn people not to fall into information traps, especially on social networking sites.
"Each journalist must always improve his/her social knowledge and professional skills to keep pace with technological development and the current information boom," affirmed Nguyen Manh Thang.
"Together with the role of journalists, they should well exercise the role of citizens when using social networks and not post, share, or like unverified information.
"Official information spread from each journalist will importantly contribute to fighting false information."