The Ministry of Information and Communications fined three online news sites for publishing an apocryphal schoolgirl's essay that implied she and her mother were being cared for by a policeman while her father was stationed on a remote island.
Dat Viet, Kien Thuc and Tien Phong were fined VND60 million (US$2,833) each for their publication of the essay, which the ministry said lacked verification and negatively impacted the image of the police, military and the Party and State’s military policy.
Representatives from the three websites all admitted to their errors, pledged to strictly review their work and take measures against individuals directly involved in the writing and publication of the essay.
The information ministry said it would strictly punish any site that's found to have published the false essay which was falsely described as a primary school student's letter in Quy Nhon to her father.
In the "letter", the girl encouraged her father’s good work on an island and told him not to worry about her and her mother because a local policeman named Thanh had been visiting them, sharing meals with them and generally taking care of them.
In her letter, she described Thanh as a man who “tells me stories before I go to bed every night” and “carries me to school in the early morning.”
“I love uncle Thanh so much," she wrote. "And so does mom.”
In an unrelated matter, on August 15, the information ministry shut down news website Tri Thuc Tre for three months for running a story describing the women of Vietnam's Mekong Delta as "sizzling, submissive, and stupid".