News / Asia

New Vietnam Law Bans News Stories From Social Media Sites

Vietnam's new law censors all news stories, blogs, (File photo).
Vietnam's new law censors all news stories, blogs, (File photo).
Internet activists and human rights groups are slamming a new decree in Vietnam that attempts to ban social media users and bloggers from posting news stories online.

Decree 72 states blogs and social media sites should only be used to share personal information. It said users are "not allowed to quote, gather or summarize information from press organizations or government websites."

Some government officials have attempted to justify the law, saying it will help web users "find correct and clean information on the Internet." But blogger Huynh Ngoc Chenh tells VOA that is not the government's job. "It's up to one's own decision and judgement to decide what information is good or bad. We don't need the government to be a coach telling us what to think and what to do for ourselves," he said.

Other activists said the decree's provisions are overly broad and will be used to prosecute critics of Vietnam's communist government. It includes warnings of speech that is anti-Vietnam or that damages national unity.

Phil Robertson with Human Rights Watch said although the new law includes very vague language, it will likely be used to target very specific individuals. "This is a law that has been established for selective persecution. This is a law that will be used against certain people who have become a thorn in the side of the authorities in Hanoi," he said.

Vietnamese have increasingly taken to social media to get an unfiltered view of current events in a country where all private media are banned.

The migration away from traditional media has posed a challenge to a government that has long been able to monitor and regulate communications.

Shawn Crispin with the Committee to Protect Journalists said the government's concern about social media could explain the recent crackdown against online activists for alleged "anti-state" activity. "The campaign has indeed intensified over the last year. Authorities seem to be using the tactic of singling out individual critical bloggers as a way of sending a signal to the larger community that this will not be tolerated," she stated.

Crispin said another concern is that the new restrictions aim to make global Internet companies like Facebook and Google complicit in the anti-free speech crackdown.

"If Vietnamese authorities determine the users of these services have violated Vietnamese law, then Facebook, Google and other international companies will be required to turn over to authorities the IP addresses and private information of those users," explained Crispin.

Crispin said it is not likely that these companies would comply with such demands. But he says the law may just be a prelude to Vietnam cutting off access to these sites, some of which are already partially blocked.

Robertson, the Human Rights Watch researcher, said it is not likely Vietnam will be able to use the law to exert much pressure on international companies like Facebook. "But they will be able to go after people in Vietnam who post things on their Facebook accounts, and that's where I think we'll see the action take place," he said.

The law is set to go into effect September 1.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid