Vietnam Strikes Back



Vietnam has lashed out at Reporters Without Borders after RSF listed Vietnam as one of the 15 enemies of the Internet. Vietnam blocks access to many web sites and has imprisoned those who use the Internet to speak out against the government. Vietnam’s response to charges of silencing online expression includes a listing of the accomplishments of Vietnam in terms of boosting access to the Internet as well as a strange admission that their filtering is actually not that good:

Viet Nam has also failed to introduce effective measures to prevent hostile and reactionary forces and political opportunists at home and abroad from using the Internet and on-line forums to speak ill of achievements gained by the people.

After an admission that Vietnam “puts firewalls on websites that are not suitable to the morals and fine customs of oriental people” they endorse “the establishment of a UN Internet Surveillance Agency”. But the conclusion is the most telling:

The RWB’s conclusion might lead to readers’ understanding that the exercise of freedom of speech in a country means its government must allow the free distribution of terror threats and pornographic information on the Internet to poison the mind of the young generation.

Terrorism is the new porn. Increasingly, countries that filtering will claim “terrorism” as the excuse of the day — replacing porn as the most common stated reason for Internet filtering. But, regardless of the initial reason for implementing Internet filtering, there is increasing pressure to expand its use once the filtering infrastructure is in place. Governments seem to be unable to resist the temptation to use it as a tool of political censorship.

See, I am wondering what “terror threats and pornographic information” is contained in the Vietnam Human Rights Network which is blocked in Vietnam? What about these sites: http://www.fva.org/ , http://vietforum.org/ , http://www.vpac-usa.org/ or http://www.montagnards.org/? And there are many more.

Today information is not borderless.

2 comments.

  1. […] (Cross posted from ICE) […]

  2. […] Reuters press release: Vietnam has been a much more willing mini-China in terms of economic glasnost during the current GATT spat. That probably explains why it got taken off the list of Goebbelslike “enemies of the Internet” by the Congress and State Department when they redrafted the GOFA bill and GIFT mission. […]

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