Blogging in Vietnam (2011)

It has been over a year since I posted an article (now a private posting) about the possibility of the Vietnamese government arresting foreign bloggers.  Several Vietnamese bloggers have been arrested and released since then but now rumors are spreading that foreign bloggers, meaning Westerners, may become targets.  It is something that a blogger such as myself needs to keep attention of.

I have always self-censored my blog posts with a rule that I will only post articles that are positive about Vietnam.  Yes, I got a lot of criticism of this back from 2007-2008 but after the new Vietnamese legislation regulated blogs in Vietnam in 2009, the criticism stopped.  The Western media coverage of Vietnam’s Blog Regulation clearly told readers that a blogger must learn to self-censor if they want to write while living in Vietnam.

I did still write about many different topics in Vietnam but I was given a reality check in 2010.  A Vietnamese joint stock company asked me to come to their office to discuss a comment I made about their company with on my blog.  They threatened legal action in Vietnam even though my site was hosted in the US and governed by US laws.  Since this company had a reputation for paying government officials bribes, I knew that maybe it was better to remove that comment from my blog.  The rule of law in Vietnam is money, not rules or regulation and this company did not care about rules or individual rights.

Hence many people will notice that SaigonNezumi.com became more of a photo blog since mid-2010 though I am starting to write more about other topics again.

There are not that many blogs coming out of Vietnam anymore.  Only a few write about current topics, mostly the guys in Hanoi.  The rest of blogs are about “HAPPY” things in Vietnam or focus on “self-help” or professional improvement which make for boring reads.  That is the state of blogging in Vietnam nowadays though there are still many, ironically, calling themselves bloggers even though they really do not blog.  It is still cool to be called a blogger, I guess.

With this new attention on foreign bloggers in Vietnam, I am curious to see what will happen in 2012.  Will I need to self-censor further?

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