Hanoians happy to ditch war-time loudspeakers - survey

By VnExpress   February 27, 2017 | 11:13 am GMT+7
Hanoians happy to ditch war-time loudspeakers - survey
Loudspeakers seen along a street in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

In an era of broadband and cable TV, residents say the broadcasts are 'impractical'.

An online survey conducted by authorities in Hanoi has found that an overwhelming majority of the public want war-time loudspeakers that date back to the 60s switched off.

The survey was conducted from January 25 to February 25 on Hanoi's government portal, and had more than 3,000 respondents. The results of the survey will be submitted to the city’s leaders for more consideration and a final decision, according to the municipal department of communications and information.

Hanoians said they think that the city’s loudspeakers are outdated in an era of broadband, wireless internet, cable and satellite television, hundreds of newspapers and magazines and social media platforms.

According to the survey, 90 percent of respondents said the loudspeaker systems broadcast “impractical” information.

Another sizable majority of up to 90 percent said they thought “it’s no longer necessary to retain” the loudspeakers.

Over all, only 4 percent of the public said they relied on the loudspeakers for news updates, and just over 10 percent said they thought the loudspeaker broadcasts were useful.

Hanoi's loudspeakers date back to the 1960s and 1970s when they delivered air raid warnings during the war with the U.S.-backed South Vietnamese government.

Today they are used to deliver daily neighborhood announcements about local meetings, health updates, sanitation and other public issues. The same system is used in many parts across rural Vietnam.

The survey results turned out to comport with a previous poll by the city’s authorities that showed residents in inner Hanoi were less inclined to rely on the loudspeakers for information updates, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper cited Phan Lan Tu, the director of the city’s department of communications and information, as saying.

However, she added that loudspeakers are still widely used to deliver messages from local authorities and community information in countryside villages and towns, and the system would still be used in rural areas for another period of time.

Loudspeakers are still found in most neighborhoods around the capital, and deliver messages from local authorities and even banks advertising their interest rates to its 4 million residents.

“It’s very costly. Local authorities at a district level have to spend hundreds of millions dong [on their loudspeaker systems], Mayor Nguyen Duc Chung said at a meeting earlier this month.

In contrast, Bach Thanh Dinh, the deputy director of the Hanoi police force, strongly opposed the plan to scrap the loudspeakers because the system can directly deliver messages from the Communist Party and the government to the public.

“Loudspeakers are a bond between the people, the Party and the government,” Dinh said recently. “If we release our grip [on the loudspeakers], we lose [the communication channel].”

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