Revised Press Law: renovation to meet practical needs

(VOVworld) – The amended Press Law approved by the National Assembly on April 5, 2016, will take effect on January 1st, 2017. There are nine new points stipulating freedom of the press; freedom of speech; rights and duties of agencies, organizations, and individuals involved in press activities; media outlets; and professional ethnics. The revisions create a legal basis for press development in line with national development.

One of the new points in the revised Press Law allows press agencies to expand links. This will increase the protection of freedom of speech towards ensuring human rights as stipulated in the 2013 Constitution.

Revised Press Law: renovation to meet practical needs - ảnh 1
The Revised Press Law will take effect on January 1st, 2017. (Photo: Khanh Linh)

Connectivity, no privatization of the press

Vietnam now has 1,610 general websites, 250 of them belong to press agencies. The rest belong to newspapers whose governing bodies are ministries, provincial or governmental administrations.

The mass development of general websites has created fierce competition and a decline of principles and content. The quality of sub-publications and radio and television programs is often questionable.

The new Law makes it clear that a media agency is allowed to join ventures with other media agencies, legal entities, or individuals whose business licenses match their areas of business without asking for permission from state agencies that manage the media.

The new regulations are more open without actually privatizing the press. The revisions create a fair climate for the development of a varied press that makes full use of media resources.

Expanding freedom of the press, promoting journalists’ responsibility

The amended Press Law governs the responsibility of agencies, organizations, and authorized persons to provide information to the media. To protect news sources and journalists’ right to do their jobs, the new law says a media agency or journalist has to reveal their source only when there is a written demand by an authorized agency and may ask a relevant agency to protect the source after their identity is revealed.

According to the 2016 Press Law, the media is protected by the law in their professional activities and eligible to visit agencies and organizations to practice journalism. Agencies and organizations are responsible for providing journalists documents which are not classified as state or personal secrets or otherwise secret under the law. Persons who refuse to provide information to the media are subject to administrative punishment as stipulated by a government decree.

The new law prohibits all acts of threatening, offending the dignity or morale of journalists, destroying or confiscating journalists’ documents and working tools, or obstructing journalists from doing their job in accordance with the law.

The new law also defines the roles and responsibilities of journalists, and regulates their work ethics and prohibited behaviors.

When it takes effect, the amended Press Law will clarify the 2013 Constitution and contribute to national construction and defense.



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