By Raïssa Robles
Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has just issued a decree banning the sharing of news articles on blogs and social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.
According to an Agence France Presse report, the decree stipulates that these Internet sites should only be used “to provide and exchange personal information.”
VNExpress, a state-run news site, quoted Hoang Vinh Bao, the government’s head for the Department of Radio, TV and Electronic Information, as saying that netizens would be barred starting September from quoting “general information … information from newspapers, press agencies or other state-owned websites.”
The reason behind these moves is to enable netizens to “find correct and clean information on the internet,” according to Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang.
To this end, foreign Internet Service Providers can also no longer provide “information that is against Vietnam, undermining national security, social order and national unity … or information distorting, slandering and defaming the prestige of organizations, honor and dignity of individuals.”
Still, there are so many ways of getting around such a ban. But in Vietnam, if you’re caught you face a harsh prison sentence.
To read the AFP story, click on this link.
Still, it sucks.
And it reminds us that freedom is such a fragile thing.
Those who have visited Vietnam are quick to praise how the country is so much economically better off than the Philippines. At least, over there, the wealth gap is not as wide as in the Philippines, they said. And much more foreign investments are pouring in, compared to our country.
But looks can be deceiving.
A growing segment of the Vietnamese people are turning to the Internet to make their sentiments and opinions known, in the hope that government officials would listen to them.
Now, state officials have put a lid on that.
Good luck to them.
Meanwhile, here in the Philippines, we are still waiting for what our government would do with the frozen cybercrime law.