[sixties-l] Hanoi intensifies censorship laws

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Tue Aug 01 2000 - 18:02:20 CUT

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    Tuesday, August 1, 2000
    Hanoi intensifies censorship laws
    in the name of culture


                        HUW WATKIN in Hanoi

    The Ministry of Culture is set to more than treble the number of activities
    deemed "culturally inappropriate". The move raises fears of intensifying
    media censorship, deepening intolerance of dissent and the restriction of
    increasingly important information on issues such as sex education.
    Le Anh Tuyen, director of the ministry's law department, yesterday
    confirmed a local newspaper report which said the number of activities
    offensive to Vietnamese culture would be increased from the 200 to 750.
    "The Ministry of Justice has made an appraisal of the new decree and has
    submitted our proposals to the Prime Minister for approval," he said. "The
    new law will improve our ability to prosecute offences made by
    publications, libraries, booksellers and at public events." Mr Tuyen
    confirmed that the proposed law included provisions covering the production
    and possession of material which was likely to "incite violence and crime,
    international tensions, materials of a sexual nature or those which
    distorted Vietnam's history or defamed its national heroes."
    He said maximum fines would rise from 50 million dong (HK$27,700) to 70
    million dong and fines for possessing a single violent or sexually explicit
    video or VCD would double to between 10 million and 30 million dong.
    The decree will likely subject state-controlled media to closer scrutiny,
    which local journalists said was already biting ahead of next year's Party
    "[Party-appointed] editors are becoming much more conservative because they
    don't want to draw attention to themselves at a time when personnel changes
    are being considered by the leadership," said one. "It's virtually
    impossible at the moment to get anything published which is even remotely
    controversial and that includes issues like drug abuse and prostitution."
    Foreign journalists have also noted that government officials have become
    increasingly reluctant to talk in recent months for fear of repercussions
    for providing information which portrayed Vietnam in a "poor light". One
    foreign diplomatic source commented: "It's as if the party is trying to
    assert not just traditional Vietnamese culture, but also communist culture.
    I guarantee we will see increased calls for . . . more Marxist education in
    schools in the coming months."

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