Vietnam has announced a new law that will ban the discussion of news on blogs and social media. The law will take effect in September.
Known as Decree 72 , the law restricts the use of blogs and social networks to providing or exchanging personal
information and bans using them to share information from news sources.
Reporters Without Borders said:
The announced decree is nothing less than the harshest offensive against freedom of information since Prime
Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a decree imposing tough sanctions on the media in 2011. If it takes effect, Vietnamese will be permanently deprived of the independent and outspoken information that normally circulates in blogs and forums.
The decree is both nonsensical and extremely dangerous. Its implementation will require massive and constant government surveillance of the entire Internet, an almost impossible challenge (without US help). But, at the same time, it
will reinforce the legislative arsenal available to the authorities.
They will no longer have to charge independent news providers with 'anti-government propaganda' or 'trying to overthrow the government.' Instead, they will just have
to set a few examples under the new law in order to get the others to censor themselves.
If Decree 72 is implemented, we urge the entire international community to condemn Vietnam severely and to consider imposing economic sanctions, especially on
the tourism sector, to which the government pays a great deal of attention. Sanctions on tourism are the most likely way to get a reaction from the authorities.
Until now, blogs and social networks have been important sources of news and
information for Vietnamese Internet users, and an effective way of bypassing censorship. But Prime Minister Dung announced that they could henceforth be used only to provide or exchange personal information.
7th August 2013. See article from bbc.co.uk
The US has criticised a new internet decree in Vietnam that would restrict online users from discussing current affairs.
The law, announced last week and due to come into force in September, says social media should only be used for [exchanging] personal information
The US embassy in Hanoi said it was deeply concerned by the decree.