Censorship in Vietnam

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Censorship in Vietnam is implemented by the Communist Party of Vietnam. According to the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the law provides for the right to freedom of speech and the right to access information.[1] In practice, Vietnamese citizens still face with government censorship.

Reporters Without Borders ranks Vietnam at 175 out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index.[2]

Although during the Nhân Văn–Giai Phẩm affair in the late 1950s, there was a movement demanding the right to freedom of speech, the Communist Party began to control the media in the north since 1956.[3] They could control all the publishing and entertainment industries in the south after North Vietnam took over South Vietnam in 1975 under the policy of Thanh Lọc (Purification of Culture).[4] They were re-evaluated by the Communist Party and were banned if their content opposed communism, went against country's moral, and promoted philosophy and religion.[4]

Subject matter and agenda[edit]

Media and the press[edit]

Vietnamese government owns most official media outlets and news publications in Vietnam.[4] The government often appoints senior editors, publishers, and reporters in order to control the press, news agencies, and periodicals press, news agencies, and periodicals.[5] Most contents that related to activities of political dissidents, corruption of government officials, deficiency of the Communist Party, anti-China sentiments, human right issues, and any criticism of government economic management are forbidden topics.[5][6] In addition, broadcasting media is controlled by the Party and People's Army of Vietnam.[4] The government blocks satellite and cable TV as well as radio broadcasts of foreign companies sponsored Radio Free Asia.[4]

In 2012, the government had shut down the non-governmental journalist organizations and sentenced longer than two decades of jail time to the founders of the organizations.[7] In 2014, a Vietnamese freelance journalist was ambushed and beaten by the policemen near Ho Chi Minh City.[8] Also, the government has arrested at least 14 freelance journalists as of December 2014.[7]

Foreign media are not free from government censorship as well. Foreign correspondents often censor themselves to extend their visas because Vietnamese government refuses their extension for stay if their work has violated the rules given by the government.[9] Foreign press bureaus are required to hire a local assistance, who can watch their reporting activities.[9] Also, foreign television broadcasts based in Vietnam are required to run on a 30-minute delay too because the government needs to monitor their content before they show to the public.[10]


There are three Internet service providers (ICPs) in Vietnam: FPT Telecom, Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications Corporation (VNPT) and Viettel, which are owned by the government and military.[11] These companies often monitor Websites access by subscribers.[4] In addition, the government prohibits people from accessing to politically sensitive Websites and from creating a new Website without its permission.[4]

The Vietnamese government has punished several bloggers, who have criticized the government. In 2016, the government has detained Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a blogger who criticized the government's reaction to a chemical dump by a Formosa Steel plant. [12] This is one of many cases of the Vietnamese government using vague national security laws to punish bloggers.[7] In August 2018, Vietnam sentenced a Việt Tân member for posting on Facebook things which it considered attempting to overthrow the state.[13]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "The constitution of the socialist republic of Viet Nam". vietnamnews.vn. Retrieved 2016-11-22. 
  2. ^ https://rsf.org/en/vietnam
  3. ^ Louise, Williams; Rich, Ronald (2013). Losing control : freedom of the press in Asia. Acton. A.C.T.: ANU E Press. ISBN 9781925021448. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Green, Jonathon; Karolides, Nicholas (2005). "Encyclopedia of Censorship". Facts on File. ISBN 978-0816044641. 
  5. ^ a b "Vietnam's press freedom shrinks despite open economy - Committee to Protect Journalists". cpj.org. Retrieved 2016-11-23. 
  6. ^ Khe, Nguyen Cong (2014-11-19). "A Free Press for Vietnam". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-24. 
  7. ^ a b c Abuza, Zachary. "Stifling The Public Sphere: Media and Civil Society in Vietnam" (PDF). National Endowment for Democracy. 
  8. ^ "Vietnamese Journalist Brutally Beaten by Policemen in Ambush". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 2016-11-24. 
  9. ^ a b "Media Use in Vietnam 2013" (PDF). Broadcasting Board of Governors. 
  10. ^ "Vietnam 2013 Human Rights Report" (PDF). United States Department of State. 
  11. ^ "Vietnam | Country report | Freedom on the Net | 2016". freedomhouse.org. Retrieved 2016-11-24. 
  12. ^ Ives, Mike (2016-10-11). "Vietnam Arrests Mother Mushroom, a Top Blogger, for Criticizing Government". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-24. 
  13. ^ "Vietnam sentences activist to 20 years prison amid dissent crackdown". Reuters. 16 August 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2018. 

See also[edit]