New Vietnam Decree Says Blogs And Social Media Must Contain Only Personal Information, Not News Reports
from the content-free-content dept
Around the world, we have been watching the gradual taming of social media, especially in countries where governments keep mainstream media on a tight leash. But even against that background, this news from the Bangkok Post about Vietnam's latest moves to censor online content is pretty extraordinary:
"Personal electronic sites are only allowed to put news owned by that person, and are not allowed to 'quote', 'gather' or summarise information from press organisations or government websites," local media quoted Hoang Vinh Bao, director of the Broadcasting and Electronic Information Department at the Ministry of Information and Communications, as saying.
That's even more extreme than China's approach, which may take down troublesome material as soon as it is put up, but at least allows the possibility of putting it up in the first place. Vietnam's rules mean that online news can only be carried by "official" channels, which are closely regulated. For everyone else, it seems, the Internet must by law become the realm of entirely content-free narcissism -- and pictures of cats.
The ban was approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on July 15, communicated to Vietnamese press late Wednesday, and was due to come into force on Sept 1.
It also bans individuals from providing "general information" on their profiles or blogs.
In response, the US Embassy in Vietnam has released a statement expressing its "concerns" about this move:
Fundamental freedoms apply online just as they do offline. Decree 72 appears to be inconsistent with Vietnam's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as its commitments under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Who says Americans don't do irony?