50 newspapers fined for wrongful articles of fish sauce

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) yesterday issued fines on 50 newspapers which have wrongful reports of fish sauce.

Accordingly, Thanh Nien Newspaper was fined VND200 million (US$8,879) – the maximum amount for administrative fine in newspaper.

The Ministry said that it had evidence Thanh Nien Newspaper received support from outside source to write such articles intentionally; the newspaper collected samples of fish sauce available in the market for tests and published inaccurate results. In addition, the newspaper has published a series of articles including six reports which provided allegedly wrong information.

Later Thanh Nien Newspaper has actively removed all wrongful reports of fish sauce in its website as well as has published corrigendum and apologies. The newspaper managers were held accountable for the wrongful information that traditional fish sauce has higher arsenic content than permitted.

The Ministry concluded that the newspaper had provided wrongful information harmful to the national interest as per the article 8 in the decree numbered 159/2013/ND-CP issued on November 12, 2013 for violations in newspaper activities.

Those involved in the case will both receive penalties issued by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union under which the newspaper was established and by the Ministry.   

Next are online newspapers which published the Vietnam Standards and Consumers Association (Vinastas) and Thanh Nien newspaper’s reports including Nguoi Tieu Dung, Ha Noi Moi, Dai Doan Ket, Nguoi Dua Tin, Dan Viet, Dan Sinh and Infornet.  The Nguoi Tieu Dung Newspaper was fined VND50 million while the rest were fined VND45 million each; Thuc Pham Chuc Nang online magazine had to pay a fine of VND40 million.

The Ministry slapped a fine of between VND10 million and VND15 million to 41 newspapers that published the Vinatas’s survey or cited Thanh Nien’s test result. Moreover the Ministry asked all newspapers to post corrigendum and apologies for publishing inaccurate information according to the law of newspaper. Governing bodies of these newspapers must issue more penalties on those involved in the case. These reporters will receive additional punishment from the Ministry also.

The wrongful reports of traditional fish sauce have triggered concerns among people because Vietnamese people use fish sauce for their daily cooking. Consequently, consumers boycotted traditional fish sauce, consumption went down affecting lives of people who make fish sauce as well as Vietnamese brand name in the international market.

By TTXVN- translated by Uyen Phuong

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