Vietnam ramps up pressure on Google’s YouTube advertisers

The ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship in Vietnam and does not tolerate dissent. (AFP)
Updated 12 June 2019
0

Vietnam ramps up pressure on Google’s YouTube advertisers

  • The ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship in Vietnam and does not tolerate dissent
  • Vietnam’s information ministry has identified about 55,000 YouTube videos it deemed in violation of the law

HANOI: Vietnam has asked companies not to advertise on videos hosted by Google’s YouTube that contain “anti-state propaganda,” state media said on Wednesday, as the Southeast Asian country ramps up pressure on global tech giants.
Despite economic reforms and increasing openness to social change, the ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship in Vietnam and does not tolerate dissent.
“Google was found to loosely manage its content, allowing users to buy ads directly from YouTube and Google without the involvement of domestic ad agents,” the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said, referring to a June 7 announcement by the Ministry of Information and Communication.
The ministry listed several foreign companies, including Samsung Electronics, Huawei Technologies, Yamaha Motors and ride-sharing app Grab, which were found to have advertised on videos containing “illegal and malicious content,” it added.
Vietnam’s information ministry has identified about 55,000 YouTube videos it deemed “harmful,” or in violation of Vietnamese law, the agency said. Of these, 8,000 were deleted at the request of Vietnamese authorities.
“In the near future, the authorities will ask YouTube to identify Vietnamese channels, and only certified ones will be considered for ad revenue sharing,” it added, without elaborating.
A controversial law on cybersecurity took effect in January that requires companies to set up offices in Vietnam and store data there.
Global technology firms and rights groups have pushed back against the law, and some company officials have privately expressed concern it could allow authorities to more easily seize customer data and expose Vietnamese employees to arrest.
In the months before introduction of the law, Facebook increased curbs on content by more than 500 percent in Vietnam, the social media giant said last month.
In January, days after the new law took effect, Vietnam said Facebook had violated it by letting users post anti-government comments.
Vietnam’s information ministry has asked businesses to “actively review” their advertising on social media, VNA said.
“The (information) ministry will work with the State Bank of Vietnam and relevant agencies to closely manage ad revenue flows on YouTube and Google,” it said.


Police arrest newspaper publisher in midnight raid in Indian Kashmir

Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, a journalist and the publisher of the Urdu-language newspaper Daily Afaaq, leaves after a court granted him bail, in Srinagar, June 25, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 June 2019
0

Police arrest newspaper publisher in midnight raid in Indian Kashmir

  • Journalists in Kashmir find themselves caught in the crossfire between the Indian government and militant groups battling for independence

SRINAGAR: Police arrested the publisher of one of the most widely read newspapers in Indian-controlled Kashmir in a midnight raid over a decades-old case, the police and his brother said on Tuesday, highlighting the difficulties facing media in the region.
Tension has run high in the Himalayan region since more than 40 Indian police were killed in a February suicide car bomb attack by a militant group based in Pakistan.
Muslim-majority Kashmir is at the heart of more than seven decades of hostility between nuclear archrivals India and Pakistan. Each claims it in full but rules only a part.
Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, 62, a journalist and the publisher of the Urdu-language newspaper Daily Afaaq, was arrested at his home in the region’s main city of Srinagar, half an hour before midnight on Monday.
“It is harassment,” his brother, Mohammad Morifat Qadri, told Reuters. “Why is a 1993 arrest warrant executed today? And why against him only?“
Qadri was released on bail after a court appearance on Tuesday.
The case dates from 1990, when Qadri was one of nine journalists to publish a statement by a militant group fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir. An arrest warrant for Qadri was issued in 1993, but it was never served.
Qadri had visited the police station involved in the arrest multiple times since the warrant was issued, most recently in 2017 to apply for a passport, his brother added.
Asked why Qadri was arrested at night, Srinagar police chief Haseeb Mughal told Reuters, “Police were busy during the day.”
The Kashmir Union of Working Journalists condemned the arrest, saying it seemed to be aimed at muzzling the press.
“Qadri was attending the office on a daily basis and there was absolutely no need for carrying out a midnight raid at his residence,” it said in a statement.
Journalists in Kashmir find themselves caught in the crossfire between the Indian government and militant groups battling for independence.
Both sides are stepping up efforts to control the flow of information, with the situation at its worst in decades, dozens of journalists have told Reuters.
India is one of the world’s worst places to be a journalist, ranked 138th among 180 countries on the press freedom index of international monitor Reporters Without Borders, with conditions in Kashmir cited as a key reason.