Government keeps check on bloggersPosted Feb 7 2009
Though the media sector usually follows the official communist party line in Vietnam, the Internet has been relatively free of governmentís control, until now. According to the BBC, several recent decrees have curtailed free speech by the country's fast-growing number of bloggers.
The new rules, drawn up by the Ministry of Information and Communications, require Internet service providers to report to the government every six months and provide information about bloggers on request, the BBC reported.
The rules ban posts that undermine national security, incite violence or disclose state secrets.
According to the ministry's Vietnam Internet Center, more than 20 million people use the Internet in Vietnam – about a quarter of the countryís population.
Stephen Denney of Berkeley University told the Inter Press Service, “The blogs represent a threat to the regime in that they can develop into a grassroots movement of public opinion, which cannot be easily controlled, as is the case with the state-owned press.”
Peter Leech, an Australian who set up a news aggregation site called intellasia.com in Ho Chi Minh City, told the Financial Times that he published little commentary and generated almost no content, but his offices were frequently raided by police last June. He has since left the country.