Vietnam rejects US criticism of internet crackdown
The United States on Tuesday said it was “deeply concerned” about the decree which bans bloggers and social media users from sharing news stories online.
Decree 72 says sites such as Facebook and Twitter should only be used “to provide and exchange personal information”.
The US Embassy in Hanoi released a statement saying it was “deeply concerned” about the decree’s provisions that appear to limit the types of information individuals can share via personal social media accounts and on websites.
Vietnam’s official Nhan Dan newspaper responded, saying some people have “turned personal blogs and Facebook into places to disseminate incorrect views, attack the party and state and organise opposition”.
Paris-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders says it’s not clear how the law will be implemented.
“This decree clearly aims at preventing Vietnamese users from having access to independent information,” spokeswoman Lucie Morillon told Radio Australia.
Dr John Ure, the executive director of the Asia Internet Coalition – formed by eBay, Google, Facebook and Yahoo – says the ambiguous nature of the degree discourages foreign investment.
“You need laws which are unambigious. If, for example, you are to attract foreign investment, to attract internet-based companies to set up shop in your country,” he said.
The law also demands that all foreign websites have at least one server in Vietnam.
Reports Without Borders says this will make it much easier for the government, or the courts, to access internet users’ personal data.
“When these servers are based abroad the companies can better resist and confront Vietnamese request with need for better argumentation so they would get access to some of this information,” Ms Morillon said.