Press freedom in Vietnam is getting worse with ever increasing restriction on Internet activities, according to the annual review of freedom of information by global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, known by its French initials RSF, released last month.
The 2014 World Press Freedom Index dropped Vietnam two notches to 174th, as the country has pushed information control to the point that it is “close to catching up with its Chinese big brother,” Delphine Halgand, Reporters Without Borders’ U.S. Director, said at a briefing in Washington.
Vietnam sinks further in the ranking to approach the bottom, closer to North Korea, which is second to last at 179th, just above Eritrea.
The index’s annual global indicator measures the overall level of violations of freedom of information in 180 countries year by year.
Vietnam, it notes, is the world’s second largest prison for bloggers and netizens.
Of the 34 bloggers currently detained, 25 were held since January 2011, when Vietnamese Communist Party’s general secretary Nguyen Phu Trong took office, the RSF report said.
In September 2013, Hanoi issued Decree 72 banning the use of blogs and social networks to share information about news developments.
“It shows that the party is waging an all-out offensive against the new-generation Internet, which it sees as a dangerous counterweight to the domesticated traditional media.”