By Christina Fares
According to Huffington Post, Vietnam is banning bloggers and social media users from sharing any news stories online. The Communist country has been in a constant battle for control over online sources since the booming popularity of Facebook and Twitter. By decree, the social media websites should only be used “to provide and exchange personal information.” Information regarding information on current events should not be exploited over the internet or over social media websites. All social media users will be unable to post any quoted information from any news sources.
All media, news, and information in Vietnam is run by the state and all outside news stories are quickly combed through before reaching the country’s public. All private media is banned for fear of online freedoms to the people. The Deputy Minister of Information and Communications believes the new decree will help social media users find “correct and clean information” online. The tight laws on media and what they are allowed to write about, have driven many citizens to only trust news and information they find through social media sites.
Most social media users in Vietnam rely on the blogs and online news sources for information in order to avoid skewed information produced by the Communist government. The new decree takes affect in September and has already received outrage from several social media users. Nguyen Quang Vinh, a well-known blogger responded that the decree “clearly aims to muzzle the people.”
A popular Vietnamese Facebook user posted that the authorities want “to turn us all into robots.”
Since the beginning of this year, over forty-six arrests have been made for anti-state activity. Three of those arrests were made in June. Word has not been said on how Vietnamese officials will monitor and penalize citizens who disregard the new decree. Until then, activists continue to fight for their right to free online speech.