New TV Regulations Cause Loss of Foreign Channels

Posted by Reading Time: 2 minutes

May 21 – Due to the enforcement of new restrictions on television in Vietnam, at least one Vietnamese TV station has responded by dropping worldwide news channels CNN and BBC. Foreign governments have already warned that various interpretations of the new restrictions could result in foreign media leaving the country altogether.

Joint venture K+ Satellite has dropped more than 20 foreign channels in Vietnam, with the only explanation provided for the downsizing by the station as “complying with regulations.” However, the company has yet to release an official statement.

Currently, very few Vietnamese stations have responded to the new restrictions by dropping foreign channels, and the move is still widely considered controversial throughout the country.  Since the full ramifications of the law have not yet been made clear, most Vietnamese stations have not followed suit and still continue to broadcast foreign channels.

Current restrictions on foreign news broadcasts into Vietnam include a mandatory half-hour delay on the actual broadcast time, which allows potentially sensitive content to be edited or updated as necessary. The new restrictions, however, may result in even further difficulty for foreign channels to broadcast content into Vietnam, and more stations may make the same decision as K+ Satellite in the future as the enforcement procedures become clearer.

“We regret that the effect of the regulatory process as of today seems to be to restrict access of numerous international channels to the Vietnam market,” said John Medeiros,  Chief Policy Officer of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia. “Consumers everywhere else in Southeast Asia enjoy the opportunity to view a wide mix of domestic and international television.”

The Vietnamese government has already clarified one key aspect of the law, noting that international news channels are exempt from the requirement of translating content into Vietnamese before broadcasting.

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