National Assembly approves amended Law on Press

By Hoang Thuy, Vuong Anh   April 5, 2016 | 02:29 am PT
Vietnam’s National Assembly has passed amendments to the Law on Press that include new provisions on source protection and how state agencies interact with the press.

National Assembly deputies approved of the amended Law on Press. Photo: Giang Huy

The approval of the amended press law was backed by 442 of the 493 deputies who cast their votes on April 5. The law increases the number of prohibited acts to the media from four to thirteenThe law did not include a controversial provision that would prohibit journalists from writing things on social networks that are contrary to the press agencies they work for.

"This is about citizens’ freedom of speech which is constitutional so we cannot put it into the law," Nguyen Thanh Hai, deputy chairwoman of the National Assembly Office said. According to Hai, press agencies may prohibit such actions in their operational regulations.

The new amended press law specifies that print, transmissions and broadcasts will not be subjected to censorship before publishing.

Citizens now have the right to make suggestions and proposals or criticize the Party, state agencies and political-social organizations through the press, according to the newly passed law.

Leaders of all related state agencies will have to inform the press of their response to the opinions, reports, recommendations, criticisms or complaints made by citizens within 30 days.

The law specifies that the press agencies and journalists need to reveal their informants if formally requested by high-leveled judicial authorities, such as the Supreme People's Procuracy of Vietnam or a Chief Justice of a Provincial Court or higher, for investigation of serious crimes.

In addition, these authorities and other law enforcement agencies are responsible for protecting informants once their names are revealed.

The amended Law on Press will come into effect on January 1, 2017.

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