Vietnam: Google, Yahoo! sought to regulate blogosphere

According to AFP news reports, Vietnam’s government wants to enlist Google and Yahoo! to help “regulate” the country’s blogging scene in an effort to stop “incorrect information” from being published online.

Recent years have witnessed an explosion of activity in Vietnam’s blogosphere, one of the sole outlet’s of expression amidst Vietnam’s state-controlled media.

Senior officials have stated that blogs should serve as personal diaries rather than “organs to disseminate opinions about politics, religion, and society,” AFP reports. Information and Communication Deputy Minister Do Quy Doan has announced that the government’s proposed regulations intend “to create a legal base…to tackle violations in the area of blogging.”

The new slate of regulations, expected to be announced later this month, include fines of up to USD 12,000 and jail time of up to twelve years for violators, according to Nguyen Tu Quang, the director of the state-run Back Khoa Internet Security Centre. Quang acknowledged that “this is quite a strict punishment but perfectly suitable for those who intentionally release incorrect information about religion, the political system, state and government of Vietnam.”

These reports follow the September jailing of high-profile Vietnamese blogger Dieu Cay, purportedly for criticizing China’s claims over disputed South China Sea islands.