Social media channels in Laos told to register platforms

Officials warned that publishing and spreading fake news, photos and videos violates the law, including the Law on Cybercrime Prevention. -

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN): Authorities in charge have told parties wanting to operate social media channels to register their platform, in a bid to legalise online news operations.

Any party engaged in the unlawful publication or circulation of information or news shall be penalised in line with the relevant laws and regulations, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism’s Office warned in a recent notice.

The latest notice, which replaced an earlier one issued in July last year, reinforces the requirement that social media administrators register their platforms.

“So far, fewer than 20 social media platform operators have registered their sites, ” a senior official at the ministry’s Mass Media Department, which oversees media affairs, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday.

“A number of social media platforms including some mainstream media outlets have not yet registered their social media sites.”

This means that under the Media Law they are not allowed to publish information and news. Their operations also violate the relevant regulations, according to the notice.

Opportunities are available for those wanting to operate social media sites legally by registering them and obtaining permission from the authorities.

Registration can be done online and applications downloaded from or obtained directly from the Mass Media Department.

The ministry prohibits individuals, legal entities, state and private sectors from publishing or circulating information or news without permission from the relevant authorities.

“Any individual, legal entity, state or private sector that continues to publish and provide information to the public via social media without permission will face measures in line with the laws of the Lao PDR, ” the notice warns.

Registration aims to regulate social media and ensure that information and news posted on social media platforms is accurate, informative, and beneficial.

It will also help prevent the circulation of fake news and disinformation, which has occurred in the past. This misled public opinion and sometimes caused panic, undermining social order.

Officials warned that publishing and spreading fake news, photos and videos violates the law, including the Law on Cybercrime Prevention. Anyone found to be in violation of the law is subject to legal action.

Causing loss or damage through social media is a cybercrime, according to Article 8 of the law.

Persons causing loss or damage through social media are subject to a prison sentence of three months to three years and a fine of 4 million to 20 million kip, according to Article 62 of the law. - Vientiane Times/Asia News Network

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