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.

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.

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.

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?

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Comments on “New Vietnam Decree Says Blogs And Social Media Must Contain Only Personal Information, Not News Reports”

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23 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

So the only news allowed is state controlled news… congrats Vietnam, you just out China’d China itself, and probably made the USG purple with envy.

I do have to wonder though, is this just a general move towards a dictatorship, or is the Vietnamese government planning something soon that they Very much don’t want ‘uncontrolled’ reporting on?

Anonymous Coward says:

The U.S. Embassy’s statement on this issue about the human and civil rights is so hypocritical that it defies all logic, considering how the United States government violates the constitutionally protected privacy rights of its own citizens under the NSA’s secret spying program as was revealed by Edward Snowd3en.

The hypocrisy of the U.S. government is really defying all logic and the United Nations should place embargoes around the United States until they start recognizing the privacy rights as guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and the United Nations commission on human rights.

Anonymous Coward says:

when countries that are supposed to be democratic start censoring anything and everything, those countries that have in the past been condemned for doing it see the opportunity to not only continue but to go even further than they did previously. it seems almost as if there is a world-wide conspiracy to take out all the values that countries that until now have respected human rights associated with democratic societies. if that is the case, what sort of world are we producing? what sort of civilization is being bred? people surely wont put up with this action from countries that have always respected freedoms. that can only lead to a very bad conclusion that could easily prove more costly than those that are orchestrating this scenario, for their own benefit, can imagine or cope with. i have to ask, what price ultimate power?

Anonymous Coward says:

What balls

“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.”

To say this in the face of PRISM, xKeystroke, and whatever other yet-to-be-released niceties from the Snowden documents?

Is there a contest somewhere to be the most hypocritical asshole government on the planet?

Anonymous Coward says:

One report button vote for the spammer.

The US has become the laughing stock of the globe for it’s unbridled hypocrisy. One one hand supporting human rights while on the other hand doing just the opposite at home.

China originally justified setting up its Great Firewall of China by stating they needed it for copyright issues.

I keep wondering how long we have before this nation gets its own Great Firewall and how long we have left before encryption, VPNs, and Proxies, are outlawed. I also wonder how long we have before thought crimes are made a criminal act.

ByteMaster (profile) says:

Special 404 or something? :)

“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,”

I can’t believe the US Government is expressing “concerns” over this… they should support this bold and courageous stance against this widespread copyright infringement!
[/sarcasm]

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