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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid