Internet Freedom in Vietnam

Internet Freedom in Vietnam

Internet freedom has been under threat in Vietnam for some time. The most recent action to repress free speech online is in the form of “Decree 72”, a legislation which requires Internet companies to cooperate with the Vietnamese government to enforce prohibition of: opposing the " the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," undermining "the grand unity of the people", damaging 'the prestige of organizations and the honour and dignity of individuals”, and other ambiguously worded means to express oneself online.

This decree also applies to “organization/individuals inside and outside Vietnam, directly/indirectly involved in managing/providing Internet services and information, and online games, ensuring information safety.” The decree was adopted on July 15th of this year, and will come into force on September 1st. The decree has largely been condemned by human rights organizations and internet industry operating in Vietnam.

This decree is just the most recent effort underway to stop free expression online. Over 35 bloggers remain in prison, and activists are detained for vague violations like “subversion”. One particular case where a prominent blogger was detained was that his blog was hacked and would serve malware to any visitors. Vietnam comes under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in early 2014, and is a candidate for the UN Human Rights Council for 2014-2016. Several bloggers have already called for amendments for Vietnam’s most restrictive media laws ahead of this candidacy.

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