HANOI — Vietnam needs to control blogs to prevent the spread of subversive and sexually explicit content, communist government officials said according to a state media report.Weblogs have exploded in Vietnam in recent years, especially among youths, providing a forum for chatting about mostly societal and lifestyle issues and providing an alternative to the state-controlled media.
Recent anti-Chinese protests over the disputed Spratly and Paracel islands, which were halted following rebukes from Beijing, were organised and debated on the Internet but almost completely ignored by the official press.
The ministry responsible for culture and information, which controls traditional media, in July said it was drafting regulations that would fine bloggers who post subversive and sexually explicit content online.
Deputy Information and Communications Minister Do Quy Doan this week told a conference on Vietnam’s press law that “controlling weblogs is about developing them in accordance with the law, not forbidding them.
“We should provide guidelines that help people know what type of information they can upload online,” Doan said according to a report in the English-language Than Nien (Youth Daily) newspaper.
Bloggers would also be held responsible for information they access, he reportedly said, adding: “Once we have obvious regulations, I think no one will be able to supervise weblogs better than the bloggers themselves.”
Nguyen The Ky, head of the press management and publishing bureau, said: “It’s alright some bloggers have recently showed their patriotism, posting opinions about the Paracels-Spratly archipelagos on their weblogs.”
“But some have sparked protest, causing public disorder and affecting the country’s foreign affairs.
“It’s impossible to control the Internet, so I think we should bolster technical security measures in addition to creating regulations.”