The Ministry of Health has called on Facebook users to immediately stop posting baseless information that misrepresents the truth and affects the honour of the health sector while also causing public confusion.
The appeal from the Ministry of Health was made after the Facebook page Merl Komsan posted an article with an X-ray image of a human with a cockroach on the shoulder.
The Facebook post said that a man living in Prey Veng province was told by a doctor that a cockroach was living inside his body, causing him to have pain in his shoulder.
The post went on to say that the man travelled to India for medical treatment, where doctors told him there was no cockroach in his body, explaining that the bug was instead inside the X-ray machine.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement issued on Friday that the Facebook post, which went viral in Cambodia, was a fake news story and should not be shared.
“To maintain the dignity and honour of the health sector, the Ministry of Health would like to call on all social media and Facebook users to immediately stop posting any baseless information or misrepresenting the facts,” the ministry’s statement said. “It affects the dignity and honour of the national health sector, and causes confusion for the understanding of medical examination and treatment services in Cambodia.”
The ministry added that it is seeking to take legal action against the person responsible for posting the fake news story.
Ministry spokesman Ly Sovann said yesterday that anyone who comes across real mistakes within the health sector should provide the ministry or provincial health department with information about the case – not post about it on Facebook.
“People should only disseminate and publish something that is true, and if there is a mistake of any doctor or hospital, please provide the name of the doctor, which hospital or health centre they work for, and the Ministry of Health can take action and make improvements,” he said.
Messages to the Merl Komsan Facebook page went unanswered yesterday.
However, the management team of the Facebook page made a public apology on their page, saying that the X-ray image was not from the Prey Veng provincial hospital or any provincial hospital in Cambodia.
The apology added that the post was just a joke, made after their team copied the article and photo from another Facebook account.
“Our team would like to apologise to the public for this post, and we have already deleted it this morning,” the post said. “Sorry, we had no intention of falsifying information. We promise not to make such mistakes in the future, and we will try to spread information that only benefits the nation.”