Vietnam blog ban in place


HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communication, which regulates the Internet in the country, has banned blogs that are subversive or reveal state, security or economic secrets, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Blogs should facilitate connectivity and information sharing, follow the traditions and laws of Vietnam, and be written in "clean and wholesome" Vietnamese, the newspaper Hanoi Moi quoted a ministry circular issued on Tuesday as saying.

Internet use has exploded in Vietnam in recent years, and blogging has become wildly popular.

Some 21 million people use the Internet in the country now -- or about a quarter of the population, according to the ministry's Vietnam Internet Center. Last year, Vietnam had 17.7 million Internet users, and in 2006 the figure was 14.7 million.

Internet service providers would be held responsible for the content on blogs they host, the circular said.

It did not say what would happen in the case of blogs on overseas hosts, like the highly popular Yahoo!360.

The ministry planned to contact Yahoo and Google to seek their cooperation in "creating the best and healthiest environment for bloggers" the newspaper Thanh Nien Daily reported this month.

Vietnam issued a decree on the management, provision and use of the Internet and e-information in August.

Unlike its Communist brother to the north, where the so-called "Great Firewall of China" actively filters and blocks a huge range of Web sites and Internet communications, the Vietnamese government's Web monitoring has been more haphazard.