Thursday, March 12, 2009

Policing the Internet

The NY Times recently ran a great article on a tongue and cheek movement to push back on China's internet censorship.

An excerpt from the article:
" a mythical creature whose name, in Chinese, sounds very much like an especially vile obscenity. Which is precisely the point.The grass-mud horse is an example of something that, in China’s authoritarian system, passes as subversive behavior. Conceived as an impish protest against censorship, the foul-named little horse has not merely made government censors look ridiculous, although it has surely done that."

The future of China's internet policy is of real relevance in Vietnam, because currently the country is not developed enough nor does it have enough resources to take measures similar to China - it would like to though. The Government is, of course, concerned with making sure that the people of Vietnam get only the most accurate information.

One measure to ensure this is to ensure that the press does not publish anything that is incorrect (I mean, that would be awful!). As it exists, the Ministry of Ideology has weekly meetings with the Editors in Chief of all major newspapers, and publications all are associated with different ministries at different levels of government that work with them to make sure nothing that isn't factual is published.

Vietnam does not currently have the reach that China does in its policing algorithms, I don't believe, nor does it seemingly have the capacity to shut websites down as quickly. Moreover, to my knowledge, most international news sites are available in full.

A shout-out to Kurt for pointing this article out to me, by the way.

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