Lao government to regulate social media

laoas internet cafeThe Lao government is drafting regulations to oversee social media and ensure Internet users use the sites “in a responsible manner”, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications E-Government Center Director General Phonpasit Phissamay said on October 24 according to a Xinhua report.

He said that such regulations would allow officials to check if people post “incorrect or inappropriate information” on social media. The government is examining and comparing models adopted by neighbouring countries in an effort to find a “constructive solution that works for the people of Laos”.

Social media is a tool for good, but if people are doing bad or illegal things online then they need to be subject to Lao laws. The regulations are expected to be in effect before the end of the year, Phissamay said.

The move follows a torrent of misleading or incorrect information throughout the country posted on social media. According to state-run daily Vientiane Times, a large amount of incorrect or harmful information was circulated on social media in the wake of last week’s Lao Airlines crash.

Over 600,000 people use the Internet in Laos and the popularity of social media sites such as Facebook has soared from 190,000 users in 2012 to almost 400,000 users in 2013, local media reported. 

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Arno Maierbrugger

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