Vietnamese Government releases circular to tackle blogging violations

Yesterday the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) released a circular to regulate and enforce blogging rules in Vietnam.

According to Thanh Nien News, the circular states that bloggers will be held responsible for providing, disseminating, and creating direct links that are in direct violation of the decree issued last August that “…forbids the circulation of information which undermines Vietnam’s national security and social order, revealing classified information, or instigating war and violence.

Pornography, superstitious content such as astrology, and defamatory content are also banned.  These are social evils in Vietnam.

Bloggers cannot create blogs assuming other identities.  That means the Fake Steve Jobs blogger would be in violation in Vietnam.

Furthermore, bloggers cannot post copyrighted material and they will also be held responsible for ALL the content of their blogs.  Service providers (those that host blogs) “…must detect, prevent and get rid of banned information when asked by governmental blog management agencies, it notes” according to Thanh Nien News.

The questions not answered are whether Expat bloggers and Vietnamese who have blog accounts outside of Vietnam are affected.  A report posted by Tuoi Tre today seems to state that if an overseas blog posted by a blogger in Vietnam violates the August decree, they may be held in criminal violation.  I will need to confirm this since I was reading a translated version of the story with Google Translator.

Despite this circular, many bloggers seem not really worried about the regulation of blogs.  There are just too many blogs, especially with Yahoo 360, that will make enforcing the circular too difficult.  Also, since many bloggers are teenagers who have a tendency to speak their mind, restricting this young group could turn into an headache for the MIC.

With the growing popularity of Facebook and Twitter in Vietnam now, will these two service providers, as defined by the circular, be responsible to manage the information on their sites as well?

Read more about the new blog circular here -> Circular aims to tackle blogging violations

Vietnamese version here -> Tuoi Tre

Update:

VietnamNet Bridge just posted an article about the blog circular: Vietnam to have circular on Internet-based information violations

AP published Vietnam imposes new blogging restrictions as well.  As with Reuters, AP seems to be paraphrasing the Vietnamese English language news sites.  No fact finding as well.

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