Head of the NA's Law Committee Phan Trung Ly (R) at the event. (Photo: VNA)

The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on September 17 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 Vietnam 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.-VNA