News / Asia

    Vietnam Examines Policy on Chat Apps, Ban Possible

    FILE - Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung gives the keynote address at the 12th International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit, Singapore, May 31, 2013. FILE - Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung gives the keynote address at the 12th International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit, Singapore, May 31, 2013.
    x
    FILE - Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung gives the keynote address at the 12th International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit, Singapore, May 31, 2013.
    FILE - Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung gives the keynote address at the 12th International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit, Singapore, May 31, 2013.
    Reuters
    Vietnam's government is to decide policy in managing free internet-based telecom tools like Viber, Line and Whatsapp, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said on Friday, a move bound to increase concerns about Communist Party censorship.
     
    State media said the government might “ban” free messaging services because of the harm done to network providers.
     
    Vietnam has repeatedly come under fire for curbs on free speech and harsh treatment for bloggers who dare to criticize the one-party regime.
     
    The prime minister said the government would “build and promulgate the policies” in managing the free communication services on the internet (Over-The-Top (OTT) services.)”
     
    Like many other confusing regulations, it didn't explain clearly what the government plans to do. But state media said it might “ban” all OTT services.
     
    “We will lose 40-50 percent of our revenue if all of our 40 million customers use Viber instead of traditional call and text,” a representative of Viettel Telecom, one of the country's biggest phone network providers, told state media.
     
    Vietnam has 17 million smart phone users, according to a report from Google. The demand for communications is huge with 60 million people under the age of 30.
     
    Jong Buhm Park, Chief Executive Officer of NHN Vietnam, the developer of Japan's Line app, said a ban would not happen.
     
    “The government has more options, like cooperation between OTT and network providers,” Park told Reuters.
     
    The prime minister's statement comes two weeks after the government ordered all foreign websites, including Facebook, to have at least one server hosted in Vietnam.
     
    “This looks like an additional step from the government to censor internet users,” said a diplomat who requested anonymity. “Once it can't control them, it will block everything,”
     
    Saudi Arabia in June banned Viber, which is hard for the state to monitor and deprives licensed telecom companies of revenue from international calls and texts.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Invictus
    August 23, 2013 3:25 PM
    Typical policy from outdated communist regime. Vietnam will be at a competitive disadvantage if it keeps its own population in ignorance. No one ever gave consent for the government to carry out policies against the public good of the people. Dictatorships of any form will only hinder not help a country in the information age.

    by: Doug from: Canada
    August 21, 2013 10:51 AM
    Typical communist police state regime policy.The commie leaders in Hanol are afraid of letting in more freedom for they know it would mean the end of their brutal supression of the Vietnmese people who yearn for freedom and democracy.

    by: Igor from: Russia
    August 21, 2013 1:00 AM
    If the government was to banned Viber,Line...It would be a big setback for Vietnamese people in comparision to other peoples because they would not enjoy the benefits of such free services.
    In Response

    by: NMK from: VietName
    August 22, 2013 1:32 AM
    The VietNam's government just had a meeting to find the way to manage and regulate the internet-based telecom tools, Not "ban".. Because we don't have the law to manage this services. Recently, China used free WECHAT as propaganda tool for political purposes.Vietname is freedom nation, we always respect citizens benefits, but we strongly protect our territory and national benefits.. We are in the developing way... All of our friends are welcome.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora