Punish all rumormongers

Updated: 2014-03-20 07:50

(China Daily)

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Three people in Chengdu, Sichuan province, reportedly started a rumor on March 14 that a shopping mall had caught fire. It was followed by rumors of people being stabbed indiscriminately, forcing hundreds of people to run helter-skelter to escape the violence. The three were arrested on suspicion of manufacturing and spreading false information, says an article on gmw.cn. Excerpts:

The rumor spread by the three suspects spread like wildfire on the Internet and created panic among the public. Spreading false or fabricated information is detrimental to society and can prove dangerous for some individuals. That's why many netizens have criticized the hazards of cyber culture.

In many recent cases, people with ulterior motives have spread rumors or false information about terrorists on the Internet. Although they can have different motives for spreading rumors, these people have one common streak: they lack conscience. They also seem to be unaware of the long hand of the law that can penalize them for their actions.

Rumors can be particularly dangerous for some people, especially senior citizens. Since the elderly have limited channels of information, they can easily fall victims to rumors.

Rumors, as is their wont, can spread quickly and cause panic among the people, which can compel them to question public security and even magnify the public safety risks. It is true that people have faced some security problems in the past few years, with some of them posing a threat to life and property. It is also true that such incidents have shaken some people's sense of security and affected the social order. But it is also true that rumors play the dirty role of aggravating a situation.

The Chengdu incident reflects people's concern over public security and deserves the attention of the authorities, who should dedicate more time, money and energy to convince people about the strength of the public security system. Besides, relevant departments should expeditiously establish a mechanism for public warning and emergency management, and improve the rescue and relief network to regain public trust. And the authorities should take steps to ensure that all rumormongers are brought to book so that others will not dare to spread false information.