LIV Launches its First Virtual Seminar on Internet Freedom in Vietnam

LIV Launches its First Virtual Seminar on Internet Freedom in Vietnam
Photo: Legal Initiatives for Vietnam
In: News

On June 19, 2024, Legal Initiatives for Vietnam (LIV) launched the first of a three-part online seminar series focused on the current state of internet freedom in Vietnam. The inaugural session featured Trinh Huu Long, editor-in-chief of Luật Khoa Magazine and co-founder of LIV, as the main speaker. He was joined by Svetlana Zens, ETIF Programme Manager, ARTICLE 19-Asia, who provided additional insights on the topic.

During the nearly hour-long session, Trinh Huu Long addressed several pressing issues that currently restrict self-expression in Vietnam’s cyberspace. He discussed how certain legal provisions are being weaponized against exercising internet freedom, the forced compliance of social media companies in content takedown requests by the Vietnamese government, and the use of social media platforms to spread government propaganda. Additionally, Long shed light on Vietnam’s deployment of cybersecurity forces, including public opinion shapers, Force 47, and Task Force 35, which are used to harass and disrupt online discourse, as well as the activities of critics and dissenters. 

Long offered several recommendations to foreign governments and tech companies to conclude his presentation. He urged them to resist Vietnam’s illegitimate censorship and content removal requests, the removal of internet trolls from social media platforms, and the accurate labeling and filtering of content originating from the Vietnamese government. He also emphasized the need to protect legitimate human rights defenders and civil society organizations from allegations of false reporting and account suspensions. He also called for greater transparency in the suspension of user accounts.

Following Long’s discussion, Svetlana provided further insight into the international community’s efforts to aid Vietnam in its fight for internet freedom. She highlighted civil society’s role in protecting online freedom of expression. She emphasized that tech companies should be held accountable for complying with the demands of authoritarian regimes and advocated for civil society to pressure these companies and their investors to protect human rights on social media platforms better. 

Toward the end of the event, the two speakers answered several questions from the seminar attendees. They provided further insights into the operations of tech companies such as Meta and Google.

The collaborative efforts of LIV, its partners, and the seminar attendees have made the series' first session* a resounding success. The next session is scheduled for Thursday, June 27, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Vietnam time, with the third session tentatively set for Friday, June 28, 2024, from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Vietnam time.

*Further information regarding LIV’s virtual seminar on Vietnam’s internet freedom may be accessed here.

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