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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs