Vietnam to undergo major media shakeup by 2020

Vietnam to undergo major media shakeup by 2020

State-run newspapers are displayed for sale on a street in Hanoi on Saturday. (Reuters photo)
State-run newspapers are displayed for sale on a street in Hanoi on Saturday. (Reuters photo)

HANOI — Vietnam will trim its state-run media and publishing sector, with the loss of about 10,000 jobs and some widely circulated newspapers, as the ruling Communist Party tightens its control over the booming industry, a report said on Saturday.

The number of publications in Vietnam has more than doubled to around 1,100 in the past 15 years. "Commercialisation" of the media has been rising, "affecting negatively public opinions", a Defence Ministry-run newspaper said on Saturday.

The Information and Communications Ministry detailed a project on Friday to restructure Vietnam's media, under which 4,000 licensed journalists and 6,000 employees could lose their jobs, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.

The government approved the plan in June.

It was not clear how many publications, including print and online versions of newspapers and magazines, would remain.

Vietnam would not allow commercialisation or privatisation of the media, thereby helping to improve its quality and ability to inform the public, Information and Communications Minister Nguyen Bac Son was quoted as saying at Friday's meeting.

Communist-run Vietnam, like China, keeps tight control over its media, with most of its editors-in-chief party members and their appointments approved by the party.

However, the development of the internet and social media networks have challenged the party's authority in recent years.

Provincial departments and each sector of the economy would no longer run newspapers, with the Communist Party's regional chapters to take direct control, the report said.

Vietnam Television, Voice of Vietnam radio, the official Vietnam News Agency and three newspapers run by the Communist Party, the defence and the police ministries would be allowed to turn themselves into multimedia agencies.

Organisations with newspapers in both print and online editions would be allowed to keep the online version.

Restructuring would be conducted on a trial basis by the end of 2016, with the entire process to be completed by 2020.

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