first_img Help by sharing this information April 27, 2021 Find out more News Organisation Foreign companies urged to co-operateThere are almost a million blogs in Vietnam in apopulation of 85 million. Unlike China, Vietnamhas not created easily controllable blog platforms.More than 80% of Vietnam’s Internetusers are hooked up to the American companiesGoogle and Yahoo!, thus with websiteshosted abroad, which the authorities can blockbut cannot shut down. In order to keep control,the government has strengthened already existinglaws that ban all forms of online opposition.A decree on Internet management and electroniccommunications that came into force inSeptember 2008 lays down that “opposition tothe Socialist Republic of Vietnam is forbidden”(Article 6).The ministry of information and communicationsis also planning to put forward co-operation proposalsto regulate the content of blogs usingforeign companies’ platforms, under which theywould have to accept to provide informationabout their customers.In fact, a government notice, Circular n°7, cameinto force on 20 January 2009, which is designedto control blogs and their content. It isnow illegal for a blogger to post articlesunder another identity. Blogscan only carry strictly personal information(Article 1) and it is banned to“put out press articles, literary worksor other publications banned by thepress law” (Article 2). Moreover,every six months, at the request ofthe authorities, hosts must make areport on the activities of their customers includingthe number of blogs they run and their statisticsas well as details of blogs that violaterules established by the host (Article 6).For Deputy Minister of Information and Communications,Do Quy Doan, “Bloggers are supervisedto prevent them from entering into illegalityor putting out false information: criticising the fatherland,the work of constructing the country,denigrating and damaging the honour andhuman dignity of an individual, and organisation,dividing the unity of the nation…”.Seven cyber-dissidents behind barsThe Vietnamese authorities have a very intrusivesurveillance system of people who are critical ofthe regime, the most common method beingphone-tapping. But they have also been usingfiltering of emails and Internet accounts.A few days before the Olympic torch was due topass through Ho Chi Minh City, on 19 April2008, the journalist and blogger, Nguyen VanDai, better known as Dieu Cay(–?cq=1), was arrestedin the city of Dalat, south Vietnam. Five days later he was charged with “tax fraud” andsentenced to two and a half years in prison, on4 December. According to his son, Dieu Cayhad been closely watched since his participationat the start of 2008 in demonstrations inHo Chi Minh City in protest against Chinesepolicy in the Paracels and Spratley archipelago.Police have harassed his family and hisproperty has been seized. Some of his colleagueshave also regularly been threatenedand arrested. One of them, who asked foranonymity, lost his job on government ordersand fears arrest for “revealing informationabroad with the aim of overthrowing the government”for having given interviews to foreignmedia.Since August 2006, eight people have been arrestedand sentenced because of their onlineposts, given Vietnam second place on thepodium of online repression, after China. Oneof them, Huyhn Nguyen Dao, was released on15 February 2009 after serving a two-and-ahalf-year sentence for “propaganda against theregime”. He has said that challenging rules imposedby the Hanoi Communist regime hasbeen pursued above all on the Internet. On hisrelease, he told Reporters Without Bordersabout his concerns about cyber-dissidents of“bloc 8406”, who began a hunger strike on 19February 2009 in protest at the prison conditions.Founded in April 2006, “Bloc 8406” is a prodemocracymovement that launched an onlinepetition in 2006 calling for government reforms.In October, the foreign ministry spokesmancalled this group “illegal” and the security serviceshave relentlessly gone after its mainmovers. In May 2007, six of its members werearrested for “propaganda hostile to the government”because of remarks on the Web. HuynhNguyen Dao, Le Nguyen Sang and NguyenBac Truyen were sentenced to three, four andtwo and a half years in prison and lawyersNguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan, tofour and three years. Tran Quoc Hien, aged42, spokesman for the United Workers-FarmersOrganisation (UWFO), was sentenced tofive years in prison at the end of a four-hourtrial. It was the worst crackdown in the countrysince 2002.Links: : news website of the “freejournalists’ club” founded by cyber-dissidentDieu Cay (in Vietnamese). : official daily (English) : website of the Bach Khoa Centre (Vietnamese) : Radio Free Asia, Vietnamese section : Financial news website about the Vietnamese economy (English). RSF_en News April 22, 2021 Find out more Domain name : .vnPopulation : 86,116,559Internet-users : 20,669,285Average charge for one hour’s connection at a cyber-café : about 2 euros for tourists. In general less for nationals Average monthly salary : about 54 euros amonth (US State Department)Number of private Internet service providers : 8Number of public Internet service providers : 2Number of imprisoned bloggers : 7Since it has found itself unable to control thecontent of blogs and online expression, Vietnamhas adopted very harsh rules to crackdown on dissident voices.Since 2002, Vietnam has equipped itself with acyber-police force that filters “subversive”content and keeps cybercafésunder surveillance.Vietnam’s young population hastaken to the Internet with enthusiasm,whether for computer gamesor getting news. But the masteringof the network by pro-democratmilitants disturbs the authoritiesand political content is regularly blocked underthe auspices of the interior ministry.“A blog is a personal news page. If a bloggeruses it for general news like the press, he isbreaking the law and will be punished”, DeputyMinister for Information and Communications,Do Quy Doan, said in February 2009 .Official control of Internet access began on 6June 1996 through the General Direction ofPosts and Telecommunications. Until 19 November1997, the Internet was limited to emailand local data bases. The state, shareholder inall access providers, follows to the letter Article33 of the 1992 Constitution, under which “thestate must suppress all activities in the fields ofculture and information that harm national interests,destroy the personality, moral values andlifestyle of the Vietnamese people. 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