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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs