Corporate media steps up false claims about human rights in Vietnam
Vietnam's Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son speak at the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 2 | MOFA

On April 23rd, the European Union passed the Digital Services Act. This new law, designed to protect European Union citizens from illegal content online, requires the giant internet monopolies such as Meta (Facebook), Google,  and Twitter to take appropriate actions to tackle illegal online content. Should the tech giants fail to live up to the standards set by the European Union governing body, they will face punitive measures.

This law was reported on by corporate media outlets such as Reuters as an important measure taken by the European Union to protect its citizens from some of the more harmful aspects of the internet. There is great concern because the Internet has become a hub for disinformation and people taking advantage of children and other protected classes. We are told this law is designed to make people safer.

Two days earlier, on April 21, Reuters reported on rumors of a similar law supposedly planned to be passed by the Vietnamese government later this year. According to Reuters, the rumored law would require the Internet monopolies to take down illegal content within certain time frames. Should the companies fail to live up to these responsibilities, they could find themselves facing punitive measures.

The two laws are incredibly similar, and yet the reporting and discussion around them could not be more different. While the European law is being praised and the government representatives that proposed the law are being seen as genuinely wanting to improve the internet experience of their constituents, Vietnam’s law is being reported as an attack on freedom and as a government power grab. In fact, in a typically chauvinistic manor, Reuters even put quotes on around the word “illegal” when reporting on the rumored Vietnamese law.

The fact that these two similar laws were reported on so close together, yet in such different fashion, highlights the crooked, reactionary, anti-Communist agenda of the corporate media. The media seeks to paint Communist-led Vietnam as anti-freedom, and at the same time paint neoliberal Europe as free. The two governments do the same thing, yet the reporting is totally different.

The obvious chauvinism behind this reporting is apparent as well. When rich, white-majority European countries say something is illegal then it must really be illegal. When a developing Asian country says something is illegal, it’s not really illegal and the word is placed in quotation marks.

It also should be highlighted that the Vietnamese law is only a rumor at the moment. If any changes to the current Internet regulations are coming, they have not been revealed or passed yet.

It’s also important to note that when the United States government pushed social media giants to silence information that it deemed “pro-Russia” or “pro-China,” not a peep was heard from these supposed human rights groups or the corporate media. Whole TV stations were removed and personalities that expressed opinions that different from the United States government’s narrative were silenced. One can only imagine the outcry had these moves been done by a non -hite, socialist country.

All this comes as Vietnam stands as a candidate for the United Nations Human Rights Council. A large number of anti-Communist organizations operating under the guise of human rights organizations are lobbying other countries to block Vietnam’s nomination to the important United Nations body.

Once again, the blatant hypocrisy is obvious. These so-called human rights groups are always ready to pounce whenever a socialist country is nominated to a body in the United Nations. In 2020 these same organizations screamed bloody murder when Cuba was re-elected to the Human Rights Council. Cuba, a country that houses it citizens, provides free universal healthcare to all residents, free education and routinely sends doctors around the world to those in need was declared to not have a good human rights record.

The same is now happening with Vietnam. The Vietnamese government that has steadily worked to raise its people out of poverty, that struggled to protect its citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic, and that sends doctors and engineers to countries in need is declared to have a bad record on human rights.

Meanwhile, a country like the United States jails more people than any other country, leaves millions of its citizens without access to healthcare, is the world’s largest exporter of arms and war, and leaves hundreds of thousands of its citizens homeless, is somehow labeled as having a good human rights record.

Anti-Communism and chauvinism are deeply entrenched in the profit driven, corporate media. The only thing that matters is protecting the status quo of capitalism and imperialism. Dear readers, be wary whenever you read anything from the corporate media, especially anything about the socialist countries. Truth is not easily found found on their anti-Communist agenda.


Amiad Horowitz
Amiad Horowitz

Amiad Horowitz studied at the Academy of Journalism and Communications at the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics with a specific focus on Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh. He lives in Hanoi, Vietnam. His articles have appeared in National Herald India, People's World, TRANSCEND Media Service, The Hitavada (India), Northlines, and The Arabian Post.