Freedom on the Internet must ensure human rights in cyberspace

August 31, 2020 | 10:15 am GMT+7

Vietnam’s consistent view is not to prohibit the development of Internet, but its 'reverse side', which is contrary to cultural identity, national customs and traditions, and hinders social development.


 The Vietnamese Government’s consistent view is not to prohibit the development of the Internet, but the 'reverse side' caused by the Internet, which is contrary to cultural identity, national customs and traditions, and hinders social development.

According to the Vietnam Digital Advertising 2019 report released by Adsota, last year Vietnamese spent about 6 hours and 42 minutes every day per person accessing the Internet on all devices. Specifically, they spent 2 hours and 33 minutes on social media, higher than the world average of 2 hours and 16 minutes.
The Internet and social networks on the one hand benefit users, but also have downsides, including human rights issues. These issues require regulatory frameworks and policies to promote the positives and limit the downside in cyberspace.
Children are the most vulnerable in the online environment. Ms. Lesley Miller, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Vietnam, said that besides the opportunities, the Internet and IT also pose many challenges. Networking platforms revolutionize the lives of children, but at the same time bring about the most horrible abuse and exploitation of children.
A representative of the Ministry of Public Security’s Department of Cyber Security and High-tech Crime Prevention (A05) said that the number of criminal cases that this agency receives annually is about 1,000, of which the number of cases of crimes against children in cyberspace is increasing. The crime trend is also moving gradually to cyberspace.
The social network environment is now considered fertile ground for fake news. Recently, fake information about popular actor Tran Thanh using drugs spread quickly on Facebook. Tran Thanh found the fake news spreader and decided to sue the person. The actor said that he suffered mental damage, and lost some advertising contracts because of the rumor. Tran Thanh is not the first famous person in Vietnam who has suffered from fake news.
The Ministry of Public Security said that taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic, hostile forces and politically dissatisfied subjects at home and abroad have spread false information in cyberspace to distort the epidemic situation and the Vietnamese government’s efforts to fight the pandemic. Many people released false or inaccurate, unverified information to attract views, causing social confusion.
On social networks, hostile and reactionary forces have created a lot of groups and forums as well as fake and malicious information in order to propagate, distort, incite, and disturb information, and cause confusion in public opinion, creating instability in security and order to destroy the Party and State. Some took the name of "freedom of expression" to express their personal views, but actually for the purpose of creating internal instability, divisions. If these cases are handled, the hostile forces will use the guise of "Vietnam violates the right to freedom of expression", "Vietnam violates Internet freedom" ...
Vietnam has implemented synchronous solutions to ensure network security, to prevent, fight and handle Internet users who abuse the Internet to violate the rights and interests of the state and citizens. This is not only consistent with international laws and the laws of other countries in this field, but also contributes to promoting the development of the Internet and the digital economy in Vietnam and protect the rights of people and society.
According to a report by the Ministry of Information and Communications, for the management of electronic information, the ministry in 2019 negotiated with Facebook and Google to ask these two platforms to cooperate in remove content that violates Vietnamese laws and take measures to prevent the spread of fake news and fake accounts. The Ministry of Information and Communications also coordinates with relevant ministries and agencies such as the State Bank of Vietnam, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Public Security to synchronously deploy legal, economic and technical measures to request Facebook and Google to strictly comply with the laws of Vietnam.
Mr. Luu Dinh Phuc, Director of the Department of Broadcasting, Television and Electronic Information, said that Facebook has paid special attention to fake news. The Ministry of Information and Communications will continue to work with Facebook in preventing fake news on the social network.
To deal with the problem of fake news in cyberspace, the Ministry of Information and Communications has implemented a number of solutions such as directing domestic telecommunications firms to prevent websites of unknown origin from reporting fake news, strictly dealing with domestic subjects spreading fake information. The Ministry has directed press agencies to fight against fake news and distorted news that misrepresents the State's policies and laws, and coordinate with ministries, branches and localities to promptly provide information and orient press agencies with accurate, complete and objective information on burning issues that are popular in cyberspace to limit the negative impact.
On that basis, the Ministry of Information and Communications will establish an effective and instantaneous information sharing mechanism between authorities and telecommunications service providers, the Internet and the community in coordinating and handling sources spreading illegal information on the Internet, by operating systems to support users to access the Internet safely. In addition, the Ministry supports and develops the community, establishes a simple, convenient communication mechanism that is ready for users to report sources of information that violate the law, and harmful information to individuals and organizations to the authorities.
The Vietnamese Government has recently issued "Regulations on sanctioning administrative violations in the fields of post and telecommunications, radio frequency, information technology and electronic transactions", which took effect on April 15, 2020. This Decree increases the fine to VND20 million (over $800) for acts of abusing social networks to post and share untruthful information that distort, slander, and offend the reputation of agencies, the honor and dignity of individuals ... to ensure safety in cyberspace.
It can be seen that the legal system of Vietnam on the rights of citizens to freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and freedom to access information is basically complete, synchronous and compatible with international law on human rights. In particular, the Law on Cyber Security is gradually coming to life and contributing to ensuring safety in cyberspace.
The Law on Cyber Security has created a solid legal foundation to prevent, combat and handle illegal activities in cyberspace, and to protect the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals. All individuals can still express their opinions on cyberspace, and freedom of expression is completely unrestricted if they comply with the provisions of law. In addition, the law helps create a healthy and safe cyberspace. Vietnam does not prohibit the development of the Internet, but only prohibits the reverse side caused by the Internet, that is contrary to cultural identity, national traditions and customs, hindering social development, infringing on main political security, social order and safety of the country.