Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Use of internet becomes a daily routine for many Vietnamese

It is estimated that roughly one fifth of the Vietnamese population uses the internet, according to a BBC News report today. Many Vietnamese have assimilated internet usage into their daily routine, and while popular support for the medium is significant, the prospect of heightened censorship remains. In the late nineties, when the internet first reached Viet Nam, the government was skeptical about the implications, and enforced stern limitations. Unlike neighboring China, the Vietnamese government has since lifted many of the sanctions restricting internet usage.

Nonetheless, the government continues to block anti-government sites. Additionally, anti-government activists have complained that the government carefully observes emails and internet usage. Some citizens, fearing government repercussion, seek out communication options other than email that are less traceable - for example, Skype, which allows for vocal conversations between computers.

While the government recognizes the benefits of the internet for the Vietnamese people, it grapples with its authoritarian instincts. It will have to reconcile these contrasting beliefs. Technological advancement and internet freedom can expose citizens to a variety of viewpoints, including those of dissidents.

For the full article, click here.


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