VietNamNet Bridge – Replying to the complaint that the current regulations
cannot generate a fair playing field for domestic and foreign Internet service
firms, the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) is thinking of a
special mechanism which encourage domestic firms develop Internet services such
as social networks or search engines.
Information on Internet keeps people indifferent to printed newspapers
Hoang Vinh Bao, a senior official of MIC has cited the report of a market survey
firm in 2011 as saying that 95 percent of Internet users access to the network
mostly to read information on general websites and social networks. Meanwhile,
95 percent of people accessing Internet use searching engine.
The 2011’s report of Yahoo! about the Internet use in four big cities also
showed that the percentage of people seeking information on Internet is now
higher than that of people reading printed newspapers or listening to radio.
A report released in July 2012 showed that of the 10 websites which have the
highest users in Vietnam, four are social media websites, while the others are
Bao has admitted that domestic firms have been at a disadvantage when competing
with foreign ones.
He explained that the problem lies in the characteristic of Internet that
information can be provided across the borders. A behavior could be considered
as violating the laws of a nation, but may be accepted in another country.
This happens that while Vietnamese Internet firms have to bear the strict
regulations stipulated by the Vietnamese laws, the foreign firms which provide
services across the borders do not bear any restrictions.
As a result, foreign firms can make their service contents more attractive to
lure more Vietnamese users, thus having advantages to Vietnamese firms.
“Therefore, we need to build up a special mechanism to encourage domestic firms
to develop some important Internet services to attract Vietnamese users, while
it’s necessary to focus on the most important ones such as social networks,
search engine and online entertainment services,” Bao said.
It’s obvious that MIC not only plans to help domestic firms develop their
business to enjoy economic benefits, but also aims to effectively control the
way Internet information reaches out to Vietnamese people.
Le Manh Ha, Deputy Chair of the HCM City People’s Committee, also said that the
state should apply a reasonable management policy to minimize the negative
impacts of Internet on people’s lives.
If Vietnam tightens the management by blocking the ways for people to access
Internet, it would hinder the development of Internet and harm the people’s
right to access information.
As for information websites, Ha said, the best way to manage them not to watch
the websites everyday to find out the violations, but to take initiative to
provide accurate official information.
Until now, Vietnam still has been following an old way to manage the Internet
use. State agencies only release official information after false information
appear on mass media.
According to the Ministry of Information and Communication, by the end of 2012,
Vietnam had had 12 purely online newspapers and journals, nearly 300 news
websites. Regarding the social media, there have been 1,200 general news
websites have been licensed, 330 social networks have registered their
operation. Besides, there is also a very big number of personal blogs.