Vietnam accuses YouTube of 'slander and distortion' in videos

By Nguyen Ha, Chau An   February 23, 2017 | 01:36 am PT
Vietnam accuses YouTube of 'slander and distortion' in videos
Vietnamese officials said they have found 17 videos with slander, distortion and provocation content on YouTube. Photo by Reuters
The information ministry has threatened to fine the popular site for publishing content that 'violates Vietnamese laws'.

The Ministry of Information has expressed concern over YouTube videos that violate Vietnamese laws.

Officials in charge of online information at the ministry said they had found 17 videos containing slanderous content and distorted historical facts that could stir national unrest.

One of those videos was the recommended link following a regular music video, they said.

“It’s a serious matter that YouTube allows videos containing bad content to stay online and available to Vietnamese users,” an official said.

Advertisements featuring big Vietnamese brands appear before and during these videos, which can damage the brands and their reputations, officials said.

Le Quang Tu Do, deputy director of the ministry’s Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, said the companies, their advertising agents and YouTube were all responsible for not checking the content.

A source from one of those companies told VnExpress they had no idea their brand and products had been attached to the videos, adding that they will verify and work with their advertising partners to resolve the matter.

A representative from Google, which manages the popular video sharing site, said any viewers can report improper videos and ask for them to be taken down.

However, Do said global content providers such as Google and Facebook must follow Vietnamese laws and proactively protect Vietnamese users.

“We will ask the government to impose penalties and technical measures if these providers do not follow Vietnamese laws,” he said.

The ministry plans to meet with the businesses, as well as with YouTube and Google, to ask them to remove the content.

Nearly 49 million people in Vietnam, or more than half of the country’s population, are internet users. A Nielsen survey released last September found that 92 percent of them watch online videos at least once a week and 64 percent are daily viewers.

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