Illutrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Internet freedom in Vietnam is an irrefutable truth, or in other words, Vietnam is an Internet-friendly country.

Despite the success of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Vietnam featured on articles and commentaries by experts and scholars at home and abroad, several foreign news outlets deliberately published false information about Vietnam blocking 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 the 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 to destroy the regime and undermine the great national unity, and deny 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 truths and was completely unverified.

Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan affirmed many times that Vietnam does not ban social media, but just corrects its wrong side to an extent as other countries have done.

Since 2010, Vietnam has been among the top 20 countries using the Internet. According to the Internet World Usage Statistics, as of June 2015, Vietnam recorded 45.5 million Internet users, or 48 percent 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 Vietnam has soared 200-fold.

Vietnam 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 newswire services in Vietnam with the appearance of hundreds of e-papers and e-magazines, thousands of licensed websites and a large number of personal blogs. The Vietnamese government and many State agencies have even used social media to disseminate information to a wider public.

In September 2010, former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved a project to make Vietnam a country strong in information and communications. He also acknowledged that the social media’s role is increasing in Vietnam.

The all 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.

With Vietnam’s open policy towards the Internet and social media, the foreign press should carefully examine any sources of information before criticising Vietnam or releasing untruthful information tainting Vietnam’s images in the eyes of international friends.

The widespread coverage of the Internet in Vietnam 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