Vietnam launches digital database aimed to increase public knowledge

By Vo Hai   January 1, 2018 | 11:22 pm PT
Vietnam launches digital database aimed to increase public knowledge
People surf internet on their phones at a coffee shop in Saigon. Photo by Quynh Tran
The 'Digital Vietnamese Knowledge System' comes at a time Vietnam has pledged to enhance control over online content.

Vietnam rolled out an online database on Monday in a bid to raise national knowledge to a new level.

The “Digital Vietnamese Knowledge System”, set up by the technology ministry, is now available at in Vietnamese.

It contains information about government agencies, businesses, important organizations and individuals, science and culture, as well as a Q&A section which allows people to contribute to the system by raising inquiries, and a collection of apps designed by Vietnamese developers.

Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh said that widespread use of the knowledge platform would be the premise for raising the intelligence of people at all levels.”

Officials in charge said the project is still in its Beta version and will need a lot of public contribution.

The database is an initiative taken to enhance Vietnam’s digital potential ahead of the fourth industrial revolution, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said at the event.

It is a step towards “bringing internet literacy to the entire society,” said Dam. More than half of the 93.7 million people in Vietnam are now online.

The Vietnamese knowledge system was introduced at a time when the country has pledged stronger control to clean up the internet, specifically “toxic” content on social media.

In November, Deputy PM Dam told the legislative National Assembly that Vietnam encourages the development of social media, but “it has to go hand in hand with political stability, and must not distort, defame, divide or disseminate content that goes against the policies of the Party and the State, or Vietnamese culture.”

Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan said in April that “there are good and bad people” on the internet, so to ensure accurate information, "we need social networks provided by local businesses that can replace and compete with Facebook”.

The world’s biggest social network and the most popular in Vietnam has acted upon a request by Vietnamese authorities to remove 159 anti-government accounts, Tuan said at a meeting in December.

He said Google has also removed around 4,500 videos containing bad or toxic content from YouTube out of the 5,000 videos requested to be taken down by Vietnam.

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