Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vietnam takes a political stand against Online Social Networks

The following article is a guest post by freelance writer Tam Pay Lynn from Vietnam.

Vietnam relationships with Chenese government have a long historical base, especially in terms of territorial and commercial issues. What has cought my attention recently was an obvious link between a major minig deal with Chinese corporations and a suspicious disappearance of Vietnamese websites and blogs related to the governmental relationsgips between Vietnam and China.

According to Technewsworld : two pioneering Web sites that stretched the limits of free expression in Vietnam say they have been hacked and shut down, just months after the communist government blocked the social networking site Facebook.

Additionaly, 16 online activists were imprisoned in just over three months. The government though, hasn't issued an official responce towards the questions addressed earlier this week by The Associated Press.

Also, after Vietnam began blocking Facebook in November, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Nga declared that Vietnam would take "appropriate action" against Web sites that it believes threaten national security. The government didn't refer to Facebook directly as an obvious threat and yet, two Internet service providers said they had been ordered to block the site. It's worth mentioning: (a blogging platform campaigning mainly against corruption) and (expressing their open opposition against the government's plans to open a giant bauxite mine in Vietnam, which may raise considerable environmental concerns).

Note. The site was closed in December. Before that, it had attracted over 17 million hits from readers concerned about the government's mining plans.

I'm now wondering if social media could become the only lifebelt to the global freedom of expression, especially in cases like ours.
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