Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Up to 78 per cent of Vietnamese people in a survey from Việt Nam Programme for Internet and Society (VPIS) said that they had been victims of or knew of cases of hate speech on social networks.
The information was shared at a workshop today in Hà Nội among researchers, policymakers and social platform providers who are working to build a safe online environment.
Professor Phạm Quang Minh, president of VPIS scientific council and director of University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Việt Nam National University said that social networks have allowed global citizens to freely connect. However, they have also become a free and invisible tool for anyone to attack and harass individuals and organisations.
“This situation has become increasingly serious and become a major threat to not only Việt Nam but also the whole world,” he said.
Doctor Đặng Hoàng Giang, author of the book “The Good, the Evil and Smartphone” said “We are witnessing a striking revival of public harassment. In the internet era, never before have humans been harassed so quickly, much and easily.”
Harassment culture originates from Việt Nam’s feudal era, but now with the internet, it has become extremely dangerous, he said.
He gave some examples such as a young Vietnamese girl who was unable to answer a basic cooking question on “Who wants to be a millionaire” TV show and subsequently received thousands of critical Facebook comments. There was also a viral picture of a girl covering her nose and mouth with a bra as she escaped a deadly fire at a karaoke bar in Hà Nội who was harassed online just because she worked as a waitress there, a job considered dishonourable in Việt Nam.
Doctor Andreas Mattson, head of the Department of Communication and Media, Lund University from Sweden shared his country’s experience in dealing with hate speech on social networks.
There is a criminal code for online hate speech. Later this year, the Swedish government plans to develop a framework for the issue, he said.
PhD student Lê Thị Thiên Huong, from Poitiers University, France said that the first solution is a transparent, detailed and strict legal framework for online speech. Social networks cannot be a “lawless zone”.
On a larger scale, in 2016, the European Council and social network service providers issued a code of conduct with commitments to combat online hate speech.
To address the problem in Việt Nam, VPIS has proposed a code of conduct for Vietnamese social networks based on the code of conduct of Europe and Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube.
The proposal suggests information technology companies in Việt Nam lead the fight against online hate and work with Vietnamese management agencies to call for public commitment.
Workshop participants also agreed that based on lessons learned from overseas and the situation in Việt Nam, it is necessary to combine soft measures in terms of ethics and education with a code of conduct while using specific regulations to combat online hate speech. — VNS