The BBC has published a double combo on Vietnam. On the 21st, Vietnam censorship concern grows was followed the next day with Vietnam net users fear crackdown - the former for the printed word, the latter for the electronic. The first article reports the Ministry of Culture suspends two newspapers while "considering further measures against the (other) two newspapers, Thanh Nien and Tuoi Tre, which have become most vocal in criticising corruption and government failures." Yesterday, the BBC reported on measures currently being undertaken to police internet practices with quotes from Amnesty International's UK director, Kate Allen.
While Vietnam's control over information remains tightly controlled, anyone living here would have to agree that improvements have been made over the last years. For example, Haruki Murakami is now in Vietnamese translation. However, certain areas with concern to politics, religion and sex remain taboo and areas of extreme sensitivity and paranoia.
As Vietnam prepares to enter the global community through its membership into the WTO it must take seriously its commitment to be an open and tolerant society. As a WTO member, its people must be competitive. To be so, Vietnam needs to have at its disposal as much information as possible to deal with rapidly changing conditions and trends. To be reluctant to embrace change runs counter to the desire for inclusion in an organization where change and exchange are central.
The government's commitment to tackle problems such as corruption through investigative reporting by the press has been a positive step. Not being able to deal with the criticism it invites has not been. -RST
Posted by on October 23, 2006 6:06 AM | Permalink