Vietnam decree levies heavier fines on false reporting, reporters' enemies

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New regulations issued by the Vietnamese government on January 6 imposed higher penalties on improper reporting and deliberate actions to damage journalists.

The decree levies fines between VND20-30 million (US$1,025-1,537) on those who threaten reporters, or damage or steal their equipment and documents on purpose.

According to the old regulations issued in 2006, such actions were only subject to fines of VND3-10 million.

Operating print or online newspapers without permits will be fined VND30-40 million, up from VND20-30 million in the old regulations.

Reporters are also subject to penalties for improper reporting.

Fines between VND1-3 million will be imposed for failure to cite the sources of information. Reporters can also be fined if they don't clearly state the names or pennames of authors, or publish news or features without knowing the real name and address of its author.

For those who make headlines or illustrations not suitable to the content of the information, which can cause misunderstanding of the information, fines range between VND3-5 million.

Reporters will also be fined for revealing personal information without a person's consent, except when laws state otherwise.

False reporting of ideas of interviewees or a document of the authorities will be fined VND5-10 million, up from the VND3-7 million in the old regulations.

Publishing personal information about people involved in criminal cases without authorized evidence will be fined VND10-20 million.

The new decree also limits the amount of advertisement on radio and television stations.

Fines between VND3-5 million will be imposed on an ad repeated more than twice during the airing of a TV series, more than four times during an entertainment program, or more than ten times on a channel in a day.

Ads longer than five minutes aired during TV series or entertainment programs will pay the same fines, so as ads for condoms, sanitary napkins, medicines for external use or santonin repeated on a channel in 18-20 hours a day.

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