Vietnam ministry seeks 6-month delay on foreign TV regulations

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Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications asked Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to extend by six months a deadline for implementing new regulations governing broadcast of foreign television channels in Vietnam.

The communications ministry said it is seeking the delay to allow local companies more time to adhere to the regulations, according to a faxed response to Bloomberg questions, released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Authorities were due to begin enforcing the legislation on May 15, requiring international broadcasters to pay state-run media companies to provide translation services such as Vietnamese subtitles for most programs, including news. The communications ministry has proposed the deadline be changed to Nov. 15.

"Currently some Vietnamese media have applied to the Ministry of Information and Communications for a license to edit foreign channels," the department managing radio, television and electronic information under the ministry said in the statement. "However, after being granted the license to edit foreign channels, the stations need time to prepare in terms of human resources and facilities in accordance with the license."

A response from the Prime Minister has not been received, according to the statement. The US Embassy said in December that it had expressed concern to Vietnam over the regulations, known as Decision 20, and asked the government to "ensure that unhindered access to reliable and credible sources of information is protected."

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