By Trần Thanh Bình, Vietnam News Agency reporter
Internet freedom in Việt Nam is an irrefutable truth, or in other words, Việt Nam is an Internet-friendly country.
Despite the success of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Việt Nam featured in articles and commentaries by experts and scholars at home and abroad, several foreign news outlets published information saying Việt Nam “restricted" access to the widely-popular Facebook social network during the visit.
Some reactionaries and dissidents, to make it worse, posted this ill-intentioned information on their personal blogs.
Looking back over past years, a number of distorted and fabricated stories about the Party and State appeared on the Internet whenever any major political or diplomatic events took place, with the aim of destroying the regime, undermining the great national unity, and denying the country’s achievements across the socio-economic, national defence-security and diplomatic areas.
However, such kind of information was unwelcomed by the general public because it did not reflect the truth and was completely unverified.
Minister of Information and Communications Trương Minh Tuấn has affirmed many times that Việt Nam does not ban social media, but just mitigate its negative impacts to the same extent as other countries.
Since 2010, Việt Nam has been among the top 20 countries using the Internet. According to Internet World Usage Statistics, as of June 2015, Việt Nam recorded 45.5 million Internet users, or 48 per cent of the population, ranking sixth in Asia, behind China (674 million), India (354 million), Japan (114.9 million), Indonesia (73 million) and the Philippines (47.1 million).
Compared to 2000, the number of Internet users in Việt Nam has soared 200-fold.
Việt Nam is also among the top countries globally in terms of Facebook user growth, not to mention other information channels.
Over the past years, there has been an unprecedented growth of internet news services in Việt Nam with the appearance of hundreds of e-papers and e-magazines, thousands of licensed websites and a large number of personal blogs. The Việt Nam Government and many State agencies have even used social media to disseminate information to a wider public.
In September 2010, former Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng approved a project to make Việt Nam a country strong in information and communications. He also acknowledged that the social media’s role was increasing in Việt Nam.
All the above facts prove the Vietnamese Party and State’s consistent viewpoint of ensuring press and Internet freedom.
Given the social media’s dark side, Internet users must stay alert and learn how to screen stories, particularly preventing hostile forces from taking advantage of the Internet to distort and fabricate the truth, which affects the public’s thoughts and sentiments.
The widespread coverage of the Internet in Việt Nam is a vivid and persuasive reality to refute all allegations and distortions about the government’s "restrictions to the public access" to the Internet and social media. — VNA