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VN to block harmful news
The Saigon Times Daily
Thursday,  Jan 19, 2017,23:36 (GMT+7)

VN to block harmful news

The Saigon Times Daily

HCMC - Vietnam has the right to request a removal of and directly prevent news seen harmful to the nation and fake news as per Circular 38 on cross-border dissemination of information, said an official of the Ministry of Information and Communications.

The ministry’s circular serves as a legal basis for relevant agencies to prevent harmful information published on the Internet in Vietnam, said Le Quang Tu Do, deputy head of the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information under the ministry.

Clause 5 of the Government’s Decree 72/2013/ND-CP says individuals and organizations are forbidden from taking advantage of internet services and websites to spread information that is against the State and does harm to national security and social order and safety; propagandizes wars and terrorism; causes hatred and conflicts between peoples and religions; and incites violence. Disclosure of State and military secrets and fake news are also banned. 

Do said the cross-border provision of public information has existed for years but this had turned complicated so the circular was issued in line with international practices and treaties to which Vietnam is a signatory, including that related to the internet. 

The circular applies to websites, social media, offshore online applications that provide content for Vietnam and used by Vietnamese for relevant services, telecommunications firms, and businesses which lease sites in Vietnam for servers.

Do said that under Circular 38, Vietnam has the right to request a removal of and directly prevent harmful information in compliance with the current regulations. Individuals, businesses and organizations that provide information for Vietnam across the border must abide by the nation’s law.

In specifics, social networks with at least one million visitors a month and websites with servers located in Vietnam are required to provide contacts for the ministry and cooperate in dealing with fake and harmful news upon request. This means Facebook, Google and YouTube are affected by the circular.

Facebook, Google and YouTube have not opened their offices in Vietnam but have legal consultants. “We will work with them via the consultants,” Do said.

He added the circular makes clear the rights and responsibilities of individual and organizational providers of cross-border public information.

Do said the process of dealing with harmful information can be done within 24 hours. After identifying news that is needed to be removed or prevented from public access, the responsible agency will send a written request or email to the individual or organization concerned in foreign countries asking for preventive action.  

The agency will take necessary technical steps to deal with such harmful information in case the individual or organization either ignores the request or fails to reply.

A special dealing process will be applied to news that puts Vietnam’s interests at risk, Do said. Accordingly, technical measures will be adopted immediately to block the news from internet users in Vietnam. Such blocking measures will be abolished after the individual or organization concerned has accepted the ministry’s request to remove or prevent the news.

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