Digital Media, Digital Democracy and the Changing Nature of Freedom of Speech in Vietnam


This paper discusses the influence of digital media and its online presence on freedom of speech in Vietnam by analyzing three different kinds of emerging online media tools: blogosphere, electronic/online newspapers, and social media networks (SNSs). As a single- party socialist republic country, the controlling power of the media lays in the hands of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). The Doi Moi reform in 1986, marketization and the introduction of the Internet in 1997 have slightly transformed the Vietnamese media environment, however, it remains highly restricted. This paper explores several sources including academic research, research articles, as well as analysis of online press coverage in the Vietnamese media environment to examine governmental control over the media which influences the free flow of information. Understanding digital media developments within the Vietnamese online media environment helps us to understand how Vietnamese netizens utilize these tools to maximize their online freedom of speech, the CPV"s approach to regulate the Internet in order to maintain its legitimacy, and several challenges facing Vietnamese netizens including bloggers, journalists, and the wider public in the digital age.


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