Vietnamese internet users are now legally banned from sharing news articles via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The new legal decree, known as Decree 72, states the blogs and social media websites should be used to convey personal information, rather than getting involved in current affairs or news.
The ban is being widely criticized by internet companies as well as rights groups, particularly because of the restriction of the spread of news and free speech. Currently, Vietnam is a one-party communist state whose media is tightly controlled by the government. With Decree 72 coming into effect, internet companies will be required to aid the government in enforcing the ban on news in social media.
Under the new laws, using social media platforms such as Facebook or blogging to criticize or undermine Vietnam and its government is strictly prohibited. The laws also ban causing damage to “the prestige of organizations and the honor and dignity of individuals”.
This year alone in Vietnam, dozens of online activist and bloggers have been imprisoned for conducting in “anti-state” activity. With the new bans in place, Vietnamese social media users will be prohibited from using sites such as Twitter or Facebook from sharing anything other than personal information.