Australian Embassy
Vietnam

Media Release - 01/8/2014

Embassies host seminar on non-state media in contemporary Vietnam

 

The Australian Embassy, together with the European Union Delegation and the embassies of Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United States, co-hosted a seminar on ‘non-state media in contemporary Vietnam’ at the Australian Embassy on 30 July. The seminar followed a similar event organised by the same group of countries on 20 May.

Invitees included government representatives, local civil society groups, international organisations and diplomats. Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson delivered a keynote address outlining recent Australian debates surrounding freedom of expression, including press freedom.

Vietnam’s election to the Human Rights Council in November 2013 and its constructive participation in the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2014 showed its willingness to engage with international and domestic partners on human rights issues.

The seminar followed Vietnam’s acceptance of Australia’s UPR recommendations on ‘giving space to non-state media’, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Vietnam also accepted recommendations that it facilitate a favourable environment for civil society actors to freely associate and express their views. Against this background, it was disappointing to receive reports that a number of potential participants were discouraged or impeded from attending.

The seminar took place the day after the Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue in Hanoi.

Participants discussed the relationship between governments and non-state media, the Vietnamese legal framework for non-state media and how limits on freedom of expression should be defined. It learned about a practical application of the use of non-state media to promote human rights through Australia’s “Back Me Up” campaign, a program to assist teens to respond to cyber-bullying.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Hugh Borrowman, said “Australia and Vietnam understandably have different perspectives on a number of human rights issues, which we discussed during our Human Rights Dialogue. This seminar explored how Australia’s UPR recommendation on creating space for non-state media, which Vietnam accepted, could be implemented within the framework of Vietnamese law and society ”.

For more information, please contact Ms Vu Binh Chau, Media Officer of the Australian Embassy at binh-chau.vu@dfat.gov.au.