Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Vietnam wants to 'manage' chat apps

21 August 2013, 17:04

Hanoi – Vietnam's government is to decide policy in managing free internet-based telecom tools like Viber, Line and Whatsapp, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said on Friday, a move bound to increase concerns about Communist Party censorship.

State media said the government might "ban" free messaging services because of the harm done to network providers.

Vietnam has repeatedly come under fire for curbs on free speech and harsh treatment for bloggers who dare to criticise the one-party regime.

The prime minister said the government would "build and promulgate the policies" in managing the free communication services on the internet (Over-The-Top (OTT) services.)"

Like many other confusing regulations, it didn't explain clearly what the government plans to do. But state media said it might "ban" all OTT services.

"We will lose 40 to 50% of our revenue if all of our 40 million customers use Viber instead of traditional call and text," a representative of Viettel Telecom, one of the country's biggest phone network providers, told state media.

Vietnam has 17 million smartphone users, according to a report from Google. The demand for communications is huge with 60 million people under the age of 30.

Jong Buhm Park, chief executive officer of NHN Vietnam, the developer of Japan's Line app, said a ban would not happen.

"The government has more options, like co-operation between OTT and network providers," Park told Reuters.

The prime minister's statement comes two weeks after the government ordered all foreign websites, including Facebook , to have at least one server hosted in Vietnam.

"This looks like an additional step from the government to censor internet users," said a diplomat who requested anonymity. "Once it can't control them, it will block everything."

Saudi Arabia in June banned Viber, which is hard for the state to monitor and deprives licensed telecom companies of revenue from international calls and texts.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Mudavadi given permission to join...

Musalia Mudavadi has been ghranted permission by his party to join the CORD Coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
EACC officers raid Deputy Governo...

EACC officers raided the home of a Deputy Governor as theft case continues in court. Read more...