VIETNAM: Guerrilla Warefare on the Internet

YVONNE EPPS WRITES- Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, they just did.  Vietnam’s war on peaceful protest has reached guerrilla warfare of the monetary kind. Hey, Uy’s atrocities were unforgivable, so why not take the rest of the Internet down, right?

Two decrees have been posed against social media and e-commerce, punishing any propaganda slandering the government with up to a VND100 million (US$4,740) fine. ThanhNien reports that the new decrees label propaganda as information that invades free thought, insults the country and its people, or promotes violence against the government. Basically what we regularly do on a Wednesday night on Facebook here in America. Although these fines don’t go into effect until January, we still have December to decipher these vaguely worded propositions.

Tech in Asia provides even more insight: Decree 185/2013 focuses on e-commerce which may hurt start-up sites and Decree 174/2013 severely limits social media usage. Both fines are slated to limit internet activity and force netizens to pursue more passive protesting avenues. With more information about the decrees was covered by Tech in Asia than ThanhNien, which didn’t even name the titles of the decrees, we know the government-run media is cowering like a dog with its tail between its legs.

It’s just all part of Vietnam’s war on peaceful protest, but venues like Reuters call to attention the international distaste of Vietnam’s strict cyber laws and that Reporters Without Borders calls the country “an enemy of the internet.” There is something inherently wrong when one can be fined for posting a map of Vietnam conflicting with the country’s sovereignty.

Vietnam, why must you continue this war? When your citizens must play ‘Mother May I’ with your policies, consider a reevaluation of values. The progression of the internet and it’s faculties march forward and it’s your decision either to move with it or walk in the other direction and get trampled. I hope that footprint on your forehead gives a real clue about what your netizens really need.

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