Vietnam imposes new blogging restrictions

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- Vietnam has approved new regulations banning bloggers from discussing subjects the government deems sensitive or inappropriate and requiring them to limit their writings to personal issues.

The rules ban any posts that undermine national security, incite violence or crime, disclose state secrets, or include inaccurate information that could damage the reputation of individuals and organizations, according to a copy of the regulations obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The rules, which were approved Dec. 18, attempt to rein in Vietnam's booming blogosphere. It has become an alternative source of news for many in the communist country, where the media is state-controlled.

The new rules require Internet companies that provide blogging platforms to report to the government every six months and provide information about bloggers on request.

The companies are also required to prevent and remove content the government deems harmful.

The regulations, written by the Ministry of Information and Communications, encourage bloggers to use "clean, healthy Vietnamese language." They clarify earlier Internet regulations that were introduced in August.

Ministry official Luu Vu Hai would not say whether the new regulations will apply to international companies like Google Inc. or Yahoo Inc. or would only restrict the operation of Vietnamese firms.

Currently, the vast majority of Vietnamese bloggers post their writings on Yahoo! 360.

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