Doing some research.
From Vietnam’s Internet freedom dilemma (BBC, 12 Dec 2006):
Wi-fi and internet cafes are full of students learning English, checking out overseas courses or chatting with new friends they’ve made online.
- Internet cafes must register the personal details of customers
- 18.6 million Internet users by end of 2007 (official figure)
- Vietnam named as one of 13 “enemies of the internet” by Reporters Without Borders in 2006
The internet is everywhere, Vietnamese people adopted it massively. E-mailing and chat gather several thousands of people in the Internet Cafes now equiped with ADSL, which is convenient when we use vocal chat and webcam. Using the internet in Vietnam is cheap, about 3000-4000 dong / hour depending on the place where you go.
The Press Law that was passed eight years ago has significantly helped in developing the media but it could do with changes to several provisions, delegates told a conference held in HCM City on April 24.
More than 250 officials from media organisations were invited to the conference held to review the Press Law and give their opinions.
Media people say any changes to the law should focus on new media, such as electronic newspapers, personal websites, and blogs.
Vietnam may be a one-party state that censors its official media and the internet, but this has not stopped millions of young people embracing a world of carefree online chatting their parents could only have dreamed of.
“Blogs were nothing two years ago and suddenly everybody’s got one,” said 28-year-old Canadian expatriate Joe Ruelle, a celebrity in the local blogosphere.
“The number of people who have blogs is baffling. It’s kind of like the Wild West right now. People write everything.”
… Writing diaries has a long tradition in Vietnam, a country with a strong and ancient literary heritage, and the tragic Vietnam War diaries of female army doctor Dang Thuy Tram have become a recent best-seller.
But for Ngan and many of her classmates, written diaries are as passe as the Vietnam War that ended in 1975, long before she was born.
“It’s old-fashioned and I already have to do too much handwriting at school,” she said. “On a blog we can express ourselves more freely. Writing a blog is a good break from study. It’s entertainment.”
From the Reporters Without Borders annual report 2008: Vietnam:
Liberal newspapers, such as Tuoi Tre (Youth) tried to push against the limits of official censorship but the government used repressive legislation to bring the most daring to heel. A law passed in 2006 provides for fines and suspensions of licences for media and journalists who defame and attack the “prestige of the state”.
The official media, which comprises more than 100 radio and television stations, as many websites and nearly 600 publications did not in 2007 make use of the space for debate opened up ahead of the 2006 Communist Party Congress. On the contrary, the media, including the party newspaper and police newspapers campaigned against “agitators” and “terrorists” from inside and outside the country.
From Internet World Stats:
- Internet usage: 17,546,488 Internet users as of September 2007 (20.6% of the population), according to VNNIC
- Population: 85,031,436 (est.) 2007, according to World Gazetteer
- “The Vietnamese government has announced plans to increase the country’s Internet penetration to 35% by 2010, according to a report by news agency AFP dated February 20, 2006. The country, which currently has around ten million internet users, equating to a penetration rate of 12%, will inject VND100.5 trillion (USD6.3 billion) into the internet market by 2010 in order to meet its target.”
Random: “When Autumn Sunlight Comes” (Khi nang thu ve), directed by Bui Trung Hai, won a Gold Remi Award for Best First Film at the Houston International Film Festival in 2008. (More about Vietnamese movies.)