The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
UCA News

Vietnam

Vietnam PM says impossible to ban social media

Urges officials to embrace websites like Facebook to spread the government's message

AFP, Hanoi

AFP, Hanoi

Updated: April 21, 2015 07:33 PM GMT
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Vietnam PM says impossible to ban social media

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is urging government officials to use social media to engage with the population more (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)

Share this article :
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has conceded it is impossible for the communist country to ban social media, urging officials instead to embrace websites like Facebook to spread the government's message.

Sites such as Facebook have at times been difficult to access in Vietnam, an authoritarian country that routinely imprisons bloggers and dissidents for criticizing the regime.

"You here have all joined social networks, you've all got Facebook up on your phones to read information. So we must make this information correct," Dung told senior officials Thursday, the Thanh Nien newspaper reported.

"We cannot ban it," he said at the meeting in Hanoi.

Over the last few years, Vietnam has had one of the fastest rates of Facebook uptake in the world, and now around a third of the country's population of 90 million have an account on the social network.

The government has always denied blocking the site, and for at least a year Facebook has been easily accessible in Vietnam without a VPN or other measures.

Dung said top officials need to use social media to engage with the population more.

"We must publish accurate information online immediately... Whatever is being said online, people will believe official information from the government," he said.

Vietnam's communist party controls all newspapers and television networks, and many citizens prefer to get their news online from blogs or social media, which contain less propaganda.

But the quality of the blogs and social media postings is uneven. Some dissident-run sites offer nuanced reporting on sensitive political topics, other online commentators spread sensational rumors.

Last week, in a rare move, authorities denied widespread rumors that a popular senior communist party official Nguyen Ba Thanh, a former top official in central Danang City, had been poisoned with radioactive material by a political rival.

"Incorrect information creates social distraction," Dung said, adding that the government would ask ministries to address incorrect information circulating online.

In the past, Dung has driven through bans on particular blogs, but the move has usually backfired, triggering a surge of interest in the prohibited sites.

The harassment, arrest and prosecution of online activists remain widespread in Vietnam, which is holding scores of bloggers in jail, according to watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

The one-party state is regularly denounced by rights groups and Western governments for its intolerance of political dissent. AFP

Support UCA News...

UCA News provides a unique service, bringing you the voices of emerging churches and helping you see efforts made to evangelize and bring relief to people in all manner of need.

UCA News has more than 40 full time and part time reporters, editors and administrators bringing you this service from across 23 countries in south, southeast and east Asia. You, too, can be part of their efforts by contributing even a small amount to keep UCA News available to the world.
Click here to consider the options available to you.

Your contribution to UCA News will immensely help us continue to grow a strong media community by harnessing information technology to inform, engage, inspire and influence the Catholics of Asia and the world.

As a gesture of our gratitude to your commitment to UCA News, we are pleased to gift you a free PDF Book/e-Book titled Mission in Asia when you make a contribution.

UCA News Donate
UCA Newsletter
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
UCAN Ad
 
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution