Range of penalties now apply for any personal insults on social media.
On November 16 Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son confirmed that using Facebook to speak ill of or spread false information about another person is against the law.
Anyone found to be using social media for the purpose of insulting others will receive administrative sanctions at the minimum and a criminal penalty at the maximum. The issue is outlined in Decree No. 72 from the government, which forbids any act insulting the honor of others on any social network.
Mr. Son said that any officer, State employee, or citizen has the right to use social media to interact or share information on the internet but must comply with regulations. “The internet is the same as real life,” he told local media. “Sharing good information is fine, but spreading rumors about the others is unacceptable. Insulting others in real life is not acceptable and it’s the same for the internet.”
The issue came to greater public attention following an incident in An Giang, where a literature teacher at a local high school and a utility worker made negative comments about the Chairman of the An Giang Provincial People's Committee. The two were fined VND5 million ($223) each by An Giang's Department of Information and Communications and received official reprimands at their place of work.