The Vietnamese Party and State have consistently pursued policies respecting and ensuring people’s fundamental rights including freedom of information and internet. The Communist Party of Vietnam has affirmed that respecting and ensuring people’s rights is the goal and motivation of national renewal. All Vietnamese citizens enjoy rights including internet freedom under the law.
Vietnam ranks 12th for most internet users. 22 years ago, on November 19, 1997, Vietnam officially connected to the global internet, an important milestone for Vietnam’s information and communications sector. In the past years, Vietnam has optimized the internet for national development and international integration. Starting with 200,000 internet users in the early days, by 2019, 64 of 97 million Vietnamese people used the internet, 28% more than in 2017. Internet access has increased rapidly. The internet and social networks have contributed greatly to national development. People freely share information and express their personal views via social networks. Agencies and organizations from central to grassroots level use the internet to carry out administrative procedures and interface with the public. These facts testify that the Vietnamese Party and State ensure internet freedo, in all aspects of life.
Ensuring cyber security to ensure people’s freedom of speech
Rapid internet development puts Vietnam at risk for cyber crimes. Criminals abuse the internet and social networks to violate Vietnamese laws, sabotage Vietnam’s economy, and obstruct activities of state agencies and economic groups. The Vietnamese State has implemented coordinated measures to ensure cyber security and prevent abuse of the internet and social networks to sabotage the interests of the people and the State. In addition to enforcing domestic laws, ministries and agencies have expanded cooperation with other countries and international organizations to strengthen technological and personnel capabilities, and increased investment in infrastructure and technology. They have demanded the Google and Facebook remove negative or violent videos and videos that threaten national security. These measures are in line with international law and laws of other countries. They have contributed to strengthening the development of the internet and the digital economy in Vietnam and ensuring the legitimate rights and interests of the State and people.
In other countries, internet freedom is also exercised within a legal framework. The European Commission issued a law on protecting privacy to stop social networks from violating the privacy of EU citizens. The EC also asked Facebook, Google, and Twitter to adjust their terms of services, and remove distorted, biased news and or face harsh penalties. Many African countries and China have banned Facebook and Google to prevent their citizens from accessing negative pages or pages with subversive political messages. The governments of the Republic of Korea and Thailand have asked Internet providers to censor social network accounts with inappropriate content. The US Congress has also passed several laws to prevent using the internet and social networks to conduct terrorist activities, provoke violence, and or violate intellectual property rights.
Freedom of information and the internet need to be exercised within the law and respecting people’s rights and interests. Vietnam pursues a consistent policy of boosting the development of the internet and preventing internet content that is contrary to Vietnamese culture and morality, obstructs social development, or violates law and order in Vietnam.