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VietNamNews

National Assembly shows confidence in Press Law

Update: September, 18/2015 - 08:56
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son delivers speech at the National Assembly Standing Committee yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Kien

HA NOI (VNS) — The National Assembly Standing Committee yesterday gave consent to most of the revised Press bill, which was presented by Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son.

The bill consisted of six chapters and 60 clauses. Of which, 31 new clauses were introduced and 29 others modified in order to uphold the spirit of the 2013 Constitution that highlighted the country's commitment to freedom of press, freedom of speech and freedom of information.

Minister Son said that the existing Press Law has provided the required legal framework for the country's news organisations and press activities. It has, however, lagged behind and is no longer able to cover the numerous facets and issues of modern media and press activities.

He said there has been worrying signs of press commercialisation, more and more incidents in which inaccurate information was published and the tendency to exploit only the negative sides of society by the press.

Deputies stressed on the importance of online newspapers and news web sites, which have seen significant growth in recent years and proven to be an effective channel for people to access information and exercise their right to freedom of speech.

The Head of the NA's Law Committee Phan Trung Ly noted that the right to freedom of speech and freedom of press were constitutional and therefore, changes must be made to the Press Law to ensure citizens can exercise their rights.

NA's deputy chairman Uong Chung Luu said press freedom and freedom of speech were fundamental issues and must uphold the spirit of the 2013 Constitution as well as numerous international protocols that Viet Nam is a part of.

Dao Trong Thi, Head of the NA's Committee for Culture, Education, Adolescents and Child Affairs, pointed out that there were still too many licenses and administrative barriers in the revised Press bill which would only serve to limit press freedom and handicap news organisations.

Thi also raised the issue of a number of news organisations publishing content, which were deemed inappropriate and harmful to child development that must be addressed immediately.

The review committee added that there was a need to improve the revised bill transparency in regard to prohibited activities and content to bolster freedom of speech and press freedom.

Medical devices

The National Assembly Standing Committee yesterday agreed with the Government about the need to pass a decree to better supervise and manage medical devices.

However, many members of the committee said the Health Ministry, which is in charge of compiling the draft decree, was overly ambitious when it said the decree should cover almost all fields relating to medical devices, including production, registry for circulation and trade, clinical trials, advertising and labeling, and medical device management at healthcare units.

Deputy Minister of Health Pham Viet Tien said medical devices are special goods that directly affect the quality and efficiency of healthcare services.

Medical devices are rapidly evolving by the day and must be upgraded to meet the latest technological advancements, Tien said, emphasising that it is important to oversee the life cycle of the devices, including production, testing, circulation, use and maintenance at healthcare centres.

Truong Thi Mai, chairwoman of NA's Social Affairs Committee, said there are thousands of medical devices in use in Viet Nam, but current regulations require only 20 devices to undergo testing on a yearly basis.

She added that medical devices made up to 40 per cent of assets at public healthcare units. At non-public healthcare units, the cost of medical devices would be part of the medical price that patients had to pay.

NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung said medical device management is loose, which causes damages, affects medical treatment and threatens people's health. For instance, he said the use of outdated technology devices is an issue.

The draft decree will be revised and placed on the agenda of the NA Standing Committee's next meeting.

The NA Standing committee also reviewed plans for the national meeting on performance of People's Council and People's Committee during the 2011-16 term. The meeting is scheduled to take place in Ha Noi next month and will be co-chaired by the NA Chairman and Prime Minister. — VNS

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