Opinion / From the Press

Who are the rumormongers?

( Updated: 2012-07-13 13:52

The fire in Ji county of Tianjin municipality on June 30 killed 10 and injured 16, according to the official news release. But some people speculated on the Internet that the death toll was much higher, says an article in Qilu Evening News. Excerpts:

Authorities have already found the rumormongers who admitted they pretended to be witnesses and exaggerated the death toll, and the rumormongers have apologized.

It is the government's responsibility to find the truth and refute rumors. However, the public still seems dissatisfied with the government's report on how it dealt with the rumormongers. Two questions are not yet answered: Who were the rumormongers? And what should be their punishment?

Because the authorities has already verified the identity of the rumormongers and proved that they intentionally fabricated the story and exaggerated the death toll, authorities should release all the details of the investigation and findings, instead of releasing a vague report. The report does little to relieve the public's doubts on the death toll of the fire, which destroyed a downtown department-store building during a weekend evening.

Authorities should also tell the public how it is dealing with the rumormongers, who obviously should be held responsible for their actions.

The best way to fight rumors is not only to disclose verified information in a timely fashion, but also to be transparent when dealing with rumormongers.

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