Been awhile since I wrote anything related to politics here in Vietnam. The BBC published online a report about the US Embassy (in Hanoi) criticizing the Vietnamese government’s new stance to ban online discussion of current political events related to Vietnam. No surprise here, it has been talked about for a couple years now. News website aggregator, such as BaoMoi.com, were recently fined for posting “copyrighted” content. In short, with the new decree, users will no longer be able to re-post news stories from other websites anymore. This includes posting links to Facebook and Twitter as well.
New rumors still suggest that Vietnam will “officially” block both Google and Facebook this year to force users to use locally made equivalents instead. Wada.vn is trying to become the next Google in Vietnam and have investments to back them in this endeavor. The Russians behind Yandex, a Russian search engine, are helping develop a Vietnamese search engine called Coc Coc (Wada is based on a Russian search engine as well). If Google is blocked, both could become viable replacements bringing in millions of USD in revenue for the ultimate winner.
To block Facebook successfully in Vietnam is more of a pipe dream then anything. Many users already found ways to bypass any filter of Facebook. Younger users still flock to Zing and other popular Vietnamese social media sites.
The blocking is supposed to occur starting in August and should be in effect by the end of 2013. Well, that is what rumors say.
How will it affect Expats?
Curious question. I still hear rumors that the first Western blogger may be arrested this year. Most likely a Viet Kieu then a “White” face. If it does happen, it could send a message that all Expats and Travelers inside Vietnam will have to abide by these regulations. This gives me more ammunition to blog via VPN in the future. I know some bloggers are thinking about using anonymous user accounts for protection including Expats.
Lets see what happens.
Read more about the US criticizing Vietnam’s internal control law here -> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23584431
BaoMoi is a pretty good news aggregator now. They even do English news for Vietnamese stories now. Amazing. http://en.baomoi.com/.