BBG Watch Commentary
Radio Free Asia (RFA) listeners in Vietnam are upset over the abrupt ending of RFA’s shortwave radio broadcasts to Vietnam at the beginning of July by the decision of the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) that has not been properly announced to audiences. According to sources, RFA managers and program hosts found out about the cut-off date only a couple of days before the cut to shortwave transmissions was made.
Sources told BBG Watch that many phone calls and messages on Facebook and emails from Radio Free Asia Vietnamese Service listeners complained “there’s NO broadcasting program from July/2nd until now.”
Many listeners point out that they have no Internet access. Some live in rural areas. The Vietnamese government censors the Internet and blocks certain Western news websites related to Vietnam, including the RFA Vietnamese website.
1.”My name is Tao Phan, from Dong Nai province. From July/2nd, I can Not reach the RFA Vietnamese-AM program. I am so disappointed. Please go back the same short-wave service like before. Thanks”.
2.”My name is Hai Lua, from Can Tho. My neighbors, friends and I can NOT reach both AM and PM broadcasting programs from July/2nd. We are residing in rural areas. We don’t have internet access. We wish that RFA go back to short-wave service for helping us to get more true information”.
3.”My name is Ly Chieu, from Long An province. I’m really sad since I can NOT reach the RFA AM broadcasting program from July/2nd until now. Most the time the radio frequency had been jammed, but about 2 weeks before July, it was clear. May RFA Vietnamese service go back to short-wave service again. Thanks”.
4.”My name is Ngai, from Kon Tum. I use the radio which is made in China. Whenever I listen to RFA broadcasting programe, it is duplicated by Chinese voice. From July/2nd, there has NOT Vietnamese voice now at all. Is there any way to go back to short wave service?”.
5.”My name is Bang Quang Thanh, from Lam Dong. From July/2nd, I can NOT reach both RFA AM &PM broadcasting programs. Is there any technical problem? Would Vietnamese service fix the problem as soon as possible? Thanks”.
6.”My name is An, from Binh Duong. From July/2nd, I can NOT reach both AM&PM broadcasting programs. Even I try to walk around my house, at every corner to get 1503khz but still unavailable. I am a farmer and a faithful audience of RFA for years. I don’t have internet access. I hope RFA go back to short-wave service again. I am totally “blind” with what is going on in my country and around the world for 2 weeks ago. I don’t trust any news from local TV. I really appreciate if RFA help radio audiences living in VN”.
Sources told BBG Watch that there have been many “no name” calls to RFA to complain about the AM broadcast being off the air since the beginning of July and asking for its resumption.
ALSO SEE WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE: Internet censorship in Vietnam.
Internet censorship in Vietnam prevents access to websites critical of the Vietnamese government, expatriate political parties, and international human rights organizations, among others. Online police reportedly monitor Internet cafes and cyber dissidents have been imprisoned. Vietnam regulates its citizens’ Internet access using both legal and technical means. The government’s efforts to regulate, monitor, and provide oversight regarding Internet use has been referred to as a “Bamboo Firewall”.
The majority of blocked websites are specific to Vietnam: those written in Vietnamese or dealing with issues related to Vietnam. Sites not specifically related to Vietnam or only written in English are rarely blocked. For example, the Vietnamese language version of the website for Radio Free Asia was blocked by both tested ISPs while the English-language version was only blocked by one.