Vietnam Internet Crackdown Draws Objections

Users forbidden from sharing content, seen as a way of censoring information


A controversial law to prevent Vietnamese internet users from sharing news articles drew criticism on Tuesday from human rights groups which said the decree is designed to clamp down on dissent in the one-party Communist state.

Known as Decree 72, the new law which came into effect on September 1 not only limits blogs and social websites to exchanging 'personal information'—original material generated by users—but requires foreign internet companies to locate their local servers inside Vietnam.

While the Vietnamese government has defended the law saying that it is aimed at stemming the illegal dissemination of intellectual property, critics say the law—which also bans the online publication of material that 'harms national security'—is further evidence of Hanoi's crackdown on the Internet.