New control on cross-border supplies of news in Vietnam

From May 2017, under Circular 38/2016, websites, mobile apps, search engines and social networks (offshore websites), which are located outside of Vietnam but have more than one million visits from Vietnamese users a month or have servers located in Vietnam must:

  • provide necessary contact details to the Ministry Communication and Information (MCI); and
  • at the MCI’s request, remove from the offshore websites information and news which are considered illegal under Vietnamese law by the MCI. If the offshore websites do not cooperate with the MCI, the MCI may apply technical measures to block the illegal information and news from being accessed by Vietnamese users.

Vietnamese telecommunication service providers are required to have the necessary technical equipment to implement MCI’s blocking order within three hours of receipt of the relevant order. Circular 38/2016 will apply to the most popular social networks in Vietnam such as Facebook, Google, and Youtube.