CNN: Facebookers blame Vietnam for blocking site

It’s not a matter of government protection but censorship. Just as Vietnam’s Internet community is still wary of using the Internet to its fullest potential, the government also finds itself in a tug of war between business interests and information control, as newspaper editor Vu Hao Nhien sees it.

The Vietnamese Government created the Administration Agency for Radio, TV and Electronics Information in 2008 that acts as a watchdog over Internet activity.

In September 2009, eight bloggers were tried on charges of “anti-government propaganda.” They were convicted and sentenced to jail sentences ranging from two to six years, the press advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders reported. The blogger community suspects they were targeted because they began to organize offline.

More sophisticated than blogs, Facebook offers the latest in the line-up of online organizational tools, from groups and fan pages to applications.

As reported by Giang Nguyen of CNN, the Vietnamese government cannot control Facebook so they make efforts to oppose it. But it’s a half-assed, partial block that signifies a Politburo scared of dialogue, information freedom, and free speech without the full resources to implement a full ban.

But do not be mistaken, a partial block is still a block. Whatever Kafkaesque, Orwellian world the Vietnamese government is imagining for its people is a sign not of progress but a nod it its Marxist past.


We are better than that

Last month the Vietnamese government decided to block access to Facebook and other internet sites, reigning in on tighter control of the information flow.

“This isn’t about teenagers chatting online…it’s a question of people’s rights to communicate with one another and to do business,”

said Michael Michalak U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam.  This action is a sharp reversal of the kind of progress toward a more open and civil society that Vietnamese citizens are yearning for and rightfully deserve.  There are very few countries left in the world that restrict the free flow of information and view words as crimes.  The biggest one that dominates the world’s headlines is China, where equality, freedom, and human rights are not yet accepted as universal values of humankind.  Since July of this year, China has aggressively blocked Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and it is apparent that Vietnam is following in its footsteps.

We are better than that, let’s bring Facebook back.  Let us embrace the democratic and universal human values and join the mainstream of civilized nations.  Join our campaign to bring Facebook back in Vietnam.

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Thông Cáo Tiếng Việt

Press Release English

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Vietnam is no longer friends with Facebook

(DPA) Hanoi – Vietnam is a social networking paradise, a giant village of 86 million people where everyone seems to be just one or two degrees of connection away from everyone else. It is either the kind of society that designers of social networking websites like Facebook dream of, or the kind of society where nobody needs such websites at all.

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