Vietnam Media's State Monopoly to End

Your SGGP English-Language Editor simply can't resist spreading this news a bit farther and faster. Soon to appear on the site of the SGGP English edition is the following report.

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Vietnam's Media to Be Freed From State Monopoly Control

Words: 370 (including headline)

In remarkable news likely to benefit the nation at large, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday reportedly agreed to a proposal to end the state monopoly on all Viet Nam media, said an unidentified government official.

After receiving suggestions on a draft government decree on state-controlled monopolies by the ministries of Justice and Information and Telecommunications, the Government Office held a conference with the ministries on the draft. At the conference the prime minister agreed to remove the national media from the list of exclusively state-controlled monopolies.

As a result, private, independent publishers and media organizations will be allowed to coexist alongside state-run media.

Related to a conference reviewing the new Press Law yesterday, sensitive issues of journalism, such as foreign sponsorship of media, the web-log ("blog") boom, taxation of journalism, and advertising, were discussed.

Most chief editors at the conference said the current law failed to provide clear financial incentive for the national media and requested Government adjust the law's sections on advertising.

Under the law, advertisements in printed newspapers are limited to 10 percent of editorial pages, a situation infeasible to publishers' current economic circumstances.

The chief editors suggested the law permit the media to decide publications' shares of advertising content and not limit advertisements in the media because such limits would affect the media's abilities to finance their products and meet businesses' demands.

One of the issues attracting journalists and journalism managers is that of blogging. They debated whether or not blogs should be considered a form of journalism and thus require government regulation.

Vice Minister of Information and Telecommunications Do Quy Doan said blogs differ significantly from journalism in that their contents are personnel opinions bloggers wish to share with the online community. Doan suggested managing blogs in particular, and information on the Internet in general, did not require outright bans be imposed, that, instead, legal guidelines should be drafted for those using the Internet and posting to blogs.

Under Vietnamese Law, a person can and should be charged if he slanders others and bloggers are not excepted from laws prohibiting publications from distributing information promoting violence, wars, sexual abuse or information opposing Vietnamese morals and customs.

Reported by Phuong Anh, Translated by Hai Dang, Edited by AD Marshall

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