Freedom of press is defined in international law. Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1966 (ICCPR 1966) states that all people should enjoy freedom of expression, which covers freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. But freedom of expression is subject to certain restrictions.
Press freedom in international law
Article 19 of the ICCPR specifies that “The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. These shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) for respect of the rights or reputation of others; (b) for the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals.”
Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that: “In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.”
Countries have defined press freedom in laws. Article 5 of the German Constitution specifies that everyone has the right to express their views through images, speech, articles published in newspapers or broadcast on radio or TV channels.
Article 18 stipulates that whoever abuses the freedom of expression, in particular the freedom of the press, the freedom of teaching, and others, in order to combat basic democratic basic order shall forfeit these basic rights.
Article 2358 of the US Code stipulates fines for whoever prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States at any level.
Regulations on freedom of speech in Vietnam’s 2013 Constitution are in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 25 states: “Citizens have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and have the right of access to information, the right of assembly, the right of association, and the right of demonstrate. The exercise of those rights shall be prescribed by law.”
Vietnam’s Press Law, which specifies the freedom of speech of citizens and duties of press agencies, is compatible with international law on human rights.
Vietnam’s law ensures press development
Vietnam’s law, which is in line with international law, has ensured the development of the press. Vietnam now has 859 print newspapers, 135 online newspapers, 258 websites, and 67 radio and TV stations. Vietnamese and foreigners in Vietnam have free access to information from public media. 75 foreign TV channels broadcast in Vietnam including CNN, BBC, TV5, NHK, DW, Australia Network, KBS, and Bloomberg. 20 foreign press agencies have offices in Vietnam and newspapers in foreign languages are widespread.
Vietnam is one of the leading countries in the region in the development of internet and social networking. Vietnam has 35 million Facebook users, which is about one third of the population. 21 million Vietnamese log in to social networks on mobile devices every day. Many Vietnamese organizations use Facebook to communicate with the public.
Press motivates social development
The Vietnamese press has the freedom to develop and get involved in all social areas, including fighting corruption, political and moral degradation, self-evolution, and self-transformation.
The Vietnamese Party and State deem it necessary to continue to ensure freedom of speech and the press as a driving force for social development. Vietnam’s comprehensive socio-economic development in recent years refutes accusations that Vietnam has no respect for human rights or press freedom.